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Old Spain 











Edinburgh : T. and A. CONSTABLE, Printers to His Majesty 


IN a previous volume I have remarked upon the 
extremely small political significance of most of the 
Queen Consorts of England, although socially the 
country has become what it is mainly through feminine 
influence. In Spain the exact reverse has happened, 
and in no Christian country has the power of woman 
been less formative of the life and character of the 
nation, whilst, largely owing to personal and circum- 
stantial accident, the share of ladies in deciding the 
political destinies of the country from the throne has 
been more conspicuous than in other European 
monarchies. The oriental traditions dominant in 
Spain for centuries tended to make wives the humble 
satellites rather than the equal companions of their 
husbands ; and the inflated gallantry, before marriage 
at least, that sprang from the chivalrous obsession 
grafted upon mixed feudal and Islamic ideals, affected to 
exclude woman from the harder facts of existence, and 
from the practical problems that occupied the minds 
of men. But whilst these traditions limited the power 
of Spanish women generally, they were insufficient 
to counteract the extraordinary political influence of a 
series of remarkable feminine personalities who, mainly 
-ing to feebleness and ineptitude of consorts, or to 
i i g minorities of sons, have on occasion during the 



blems facing Spanish rulers thenceforward were no 
longer centred upon the development of the country 
as a prosperous Christian land, or even upon the main- 
tenance of the Mediterranean as a Christian sea. The 
policy of the ' Catholic Kings ' plunged Spain into the 
vortex of mid- European politics at the critical period of 
the world's history, when new lines of demarcation 
were being scored by religious schism across the 
ancient boundaries : when deep, unbridgable crevasses 
were being split between peoples hitherto bound 
together by common interests and traditional friend- 
ship. At this crucial time, when the centre of all 
earthly authority was boldly challenged, Spain was 
pledged by Isabel and Ferdinand to a course which 
thenceforward made her the champion of an impossible 
religious unity, and squandered for centuries the blood 
and treasure of her people in the fruitless struggle to 
fix enduring fetters upon the thoughts and souls of 
men. Myriads of martyrs shed their blood to cement 
the solid Spain that might serve as an instrument for 
such gigantic ends ; and the ecstatic Queen, though 
gentle and pitiful at heart, yet had no pity for the 
victims, as her clear eyes pierced the reek of sacrifice, 
and saw beyond it the shining glory of her goal. To 
her and to her descendant kings the end they aimed at 
justified all things done in its attainment, and the touch 
of mystic madness that in the great Queen was allied 
to exalted genius, grew in those of her blood who 
followed her to the besotted obsession that blinded them 
to the nature and extent of the forces against them, and 
led them down at last to babbling idiocy, and their 


country to impotent decay. The pale figure of Joan 
the distraught flits across our page, and forces to our 
consideration once more the awful problem of whether 
she was the victim of a hellish conspiracy on the part 
of those who should have loved her best, or a woman 
afflicted by the hand of God ; whether her lifelong 
martyrdom was the punishment of heresy or the need 
of her infirmity. Pathetic Mary Tudor, Queen Con- 
sort of Spain, demands notice because her marriage 
with Philip ii. marked the vital need of Spain, at any 
cost, to hold by the traditional alliance with England 
amidst the shifting sands of religious revolt which were to 
overwhelm and transform Europe ; whilst, later, the des- 
perate attempt of Philip to form a new group of powers 
which should enable Spain to dispense with unorthodox 
England, is personified in the sweet and noble figure 
of his third wife, Isabel of Valois, upon whose life-story, 
poignant enough in its bare reality, romancers have 
embroidered so many strange adornments. The Aus- 
trian princesses, who in turn became consorts of the 
Catholic Kings, all represent the unhappy persistence 
of the rulers of Spain in clinging to the splendid but un- 
realisable dream bequeathed by their great ancestor 
the Emperor to his suffering realm ; that of perpetu- 
ating Spanish hegemony over Europe by means of 
compulsory uniformity of creed, dictated from Rome 
and enforced from Madrid. And in the intervals of 
discouragement and disillusionment at the impotence 
of Habsburg Emperors to secure such uniformity even 
within the bounds of the empire itself, and the patent im- 
#? s Ability for Spain alone to cope with the giant task, 


we see the turning of kings and ministers in temporary 
despair towards the secular enemy of the house of 
Austria, and Spain in search of French brides who 
might bring Catholic support to the Catholic champion. 
When, at last, exhausted Spain could deceive herself 
no longer, and was fain to acknowledge that she had 
been beaten in her attempt to hold the rising tide and 
deny to men the God-given right of unfettered thought, 
the matrimonial alliances of her Kings, whilst ceasing 
to be instruments for the realisation of the vision of 
her prime, still obeyed the traditionary policies which 
drew Spain alternately to the side of France or Austria. 
But the end of such efforts now was not to serve 
Spanish objects, wise or otherwise, but to snatch ad- 
vantage for the rival birds of prey who were hovering 
over the body of a great nation in the throes of dis- 
solution, ravening for a share of her substance when 
the hour of death should strike. Sordid and pathetic 
as the story of these intrigues may be in their political 
aspect, the personal share in them of the Queens 
Consort themselves, their methods, their triumphs and 
their failures, are often fraught with intense interest to 
the student of manners. The life of the unscrupulous 
Mariana of Austria, who in the interests of her house 
held Spain so long in the name of her imbecile son, 
and in her turn was outwitted by Don Juan and the 
French interest, presents us with a picture of the times 
so intimate, thanks to the plentiful material left behind 
by a self-conscious age, as to introduce us into the 
innermost secrets of the intrigues to an extent that 
contemporaries would have thought impossible. And 


again the sad, but very human, story of the young 
half- English Princess, bright and light-hearted, torn 
from brilliant Paris to serve French interests, as the 
wife of Mariana's half-witted son Charles 11., only to 
beat herself to death against the bars of her gloomy 
golden cage and break her heart to old Mariana's undis- 
guised joy, throws a flood of lurid light upon Spanish 
society in its decadence, and proves the baseness to 
which human ambition will stoop. More repugnant 
is the career of poor Marie Louise's German successor 
as the Consort of the miserable Charles the Bewitched 
in his last years, and the tale of the extraordinary series 
of plots woven by the rival parties around the lingering 
deathbed of the King, whom they worried and fright- 
ened into his grave, a senile dotard at forty. Only 
briefly dealt with here are the Queens of the Bourbon 
renascence, stout little Marie Louise of Savoy, and 
the forceful termagant Isabel Farnese, who, chosen to 
serve as a humble instrument of others, at once seized 
whip and reins herself, and drove Spain as she listed 
during a long life of struggle for the aggrandisement of 
her sons, in which Europe was kept at strife for years 
by the ambition of one woman. 

These and other Queens Consort will pass before us 
in the following pages, some of them good, a few bad, 
and most of them unhappy. There is no desire to 
dwell especially upon the sad and gloomy features of 
their history, or to represent them all as victims ; but 
it must not be forgotten, in condonation of the short- 
comings of some of them, that they were sent from 
their own homes, kin, and country, often mere children, 


to a distant foreign court, where the traditional etiquette 
was appallingly austere and repellent ; sacrificed in 
loveless marriage to men whom they had never seen ; 
treated as emotionless pawns in the game of politics 
played by crafty brains. No wonder, then, that girlish 
spirits should be crushed, that young hearts should 
break in despair, or, as an alternative, should cast to 
the winds all considerations of honour, duty, and 
dignity, and seek enjoyment before extinction came. 
Some of them passed through the fiery ordeal trium- 
phant, and stand forth clear and shining. Great Isabel 
herself, another more colourless Isabel, the Emperor's 
wife, a third, Isabel of the Peace, most beloved of 
Spanish Queens, and Anne her successor, as solemn 
Philip's wife. Of these no word of reproach may 
justly be said, nor of Margaret, the Austrian consort 
of Philip IIL, nor of the spirited Isabel of Bourbon, 
daughter of the gay and gallant B^arnais, and sister of 
Henriette Marie of England. These and others bore 
their burden bravely to the last ; and of the few who 
cast theirs down, and strayed amongst the poisoned 
flowers by the way, it may be truly urged that the 
trespasses of others against them were greater than 
their own transgressions. Such of their stories as are 
here told briefly are set forth with an honest desire to 
attain accuracy in historical fact and impartiality in 
deduction therefrom. There has been no desire to 
make either angels or devils of the personages described. 
They were, like the rest of their kind, human beings, 
with mixed and varying motives, swayed by personal 
and political influences which must be taken into 


account in any attempt to appraise their characters or 
understand their actions. Several of the lives are here 
told in English for the first time by the light of modern 
research, and in cases where statements are at variance 
with usually accepted English teaching, references are 
given in footnotes to the contemporary source from 
which the statements are derived. The opening of the 
archives of several European countries, and the exten- 
sive reproduction in print of interesting historical texts 
in Spain of late years, provide much of the new material 
used in the present work ; and the labours of recent 
English, French, and Spanish historians have naturally 
been placed under contribution for such fresh facts as 
they have adduced. Where this is the case, acknow- 
ledgment is made in the form of footnotes. 


LONDON, September 1906. 








1. MARY OF ENGLAND . .207 

2. ISABEL OF VALOIS ..... 259 


1. ISABEL OF BOURBON . . . . .315 

2. MARIANA OF AUSTRIA . . . .361 



2. MARIANA OF NEUBURG ! ." . 487 

EPILOGUE . . . . . . 531 

INDEX .... . . 543 



SPAIN. After a Painting by ANTONIO MOR . Frontispiece 


OF GRANADA. After a Painting by PRADILLA to face page 64 


HUSBAND. After a Painting by PRADILLA . ,. 176 

ISABEL OF VALOIS. After a Painting by PANTOJA 

DE LA CRUZ . . . . . . 288 

ISABEL OF BOURBON. After a Painting by 

VELAZQUEZ . . . . . . 336 

MARIANA OF AUSTRIA. After a Painting by 

VELAZQUEZ . . . . . . 368 

ISABEL FARNESE. After a Painting by VAN Loo . 536 

The above Illustrations are reproduced from Photographs by J. Lacoste, Madrid. 





mantles ; nay, beneath the gorgeous vestments of the 
great churchmen who stood grouped before the altar 
in the palace chapel, though smiling faces and words of 
pleasure were seen and heard on every side. For to 
the King, after eight years of fruitless marriage, an 
heiress had been born, and the court and people of 
Castile and Leon were bidden to make merry and 
welcome their future Queen. Bull fights, tournaments, 
and cane contests, the songs of minstrels and plenteous 
banquets, had for days beguiled a populace palled with 
gaudy shows ; and now the sacred ceremonies of the 
Church were to sanctify the babe whose advent had 
moved so many hearts to shocked surprise. The King, 
a shaggy, red-haired giant with slack, lazy limbs and 
feeble face, towered in his golden crown and velvet 
mantle over his nine-year-old half-brother Alfonso by 
his side. The child, under a canopy, was borne in 
state up to the font by Count Alba de Liste, and the 
stalwart, black-browed primate of Spain, Alfonso 
Carrillo, Archbishop of Toledo, who, with three attend- 
ant bishops, performed the ceremony, blessed the baby 
girl unctuously beneath the King's lymphatic gaze, 
though he had already resolved to ruin her. By the 
side of the font stood the sponsors : a girl of eleven 
and a sturdy noble in splendid attire, with his wife. 
All around, the courtiers, their mouths wreathed in 
doubtful smiles which their lifted brows belied, glanced 
alternately at the little group of sponsors, and at the 
noblest figure of all the courtly throng : a young man 
glittering with gems who stood behind the King. 
Tall, almost, as Henry himself, with flashing dark eyes 
and jet black hair, a fair skin and gallant mien, this 
youth formed with the King, and the group at the font, 
the elements of a great drama, which ended in the 


renascence of Spain. For the young man was Beltran 
de la Cueva, the new Count of Ledesma, who, all the 
court was whispering, was really the father of the new- 
born Princess, and the sponsors, besides the French- 
man Armignac, were the gorged and spoiled favourite 
of the King, the all-powerful Juan Pacheco, Marquis 
of Villena, and his wife, and the King's half-sister, 
Princess Isabel of Castile. The girl had seen nothing 
of court life, for up to this time, from her orphaned 
babyhood, she had lived with her widowed mother and 
younger brother in neglected retirement at the lone 
castle of Arevalo, immersed in books and the gentle 
arts that modest maids were taught ; but she went 
through her part of the ceremony composedly, and 
with simple dignity. She was already tall for her age, 
with a fair, round face, large, light blue eyes, and the 
reddish hair of her Plantagenet ancestors ; and if she, 
in her innocence, guessed at some of the tumultuous 
passions that were silently raging around her, she 
made no sign, and bore herself calmly, as befitted the 
daughter of a long line of kings. 1 

Seven weeks afterwards, on the Qth May, in the 
great hall of the palace, the nobles, prelates, and 
deputies of the chartered towns met to swear allegiance 
to the new heiress of Castile. One by one, as they 
advanced to kneel and kiss the tiny hand of the un- 
conscious infant, they frowned and whispered beneath 
their breath words of scorn and indignation which they 
dared not utter openly, for all around, and thronging 
the corridors and courtyards, there stood with ready 
lances the Morisco bodyguard of the King, eager to 
punish disobedience. And so, though the insulting 

1 The ceremony is described by Enriquez de Castillo in the contem- 
porary ' Cronica de Enrique IV. 3 


nickname of the new Infanta Juana, the Beltraneja, 
after the name of her assumed father, passed from 
mouth to mouth quietly, public protest there was 
none. 1 

Already before the birth of the hapless Beltraneja, 
the scandal of Henry's life, his contemptible weakness 
and the acknowledged sexual impotence which had 
caused his divorce from his first wife, had made his court 
a battle ground for rival ambitions. Like the previous 
Kings of his house, which was raised to the throne 
by a fratricidal revolution, and himself a rebel during 
his father's lifetime, Henry iv. had lavished crown gifts 
upon noble partisans to such an extent as to have 
reduced his patrimony to nought. Justice was openly 
bought and sold, permanent grants upon public revenues 
were bartered for small ready payments, law and order 
were non-existent outside the strong walls of the fortified 
cities, and the whole country was a prey to plundering 
nobles, who, either separately or in " leagues," tyrannised 
and robbed as they listed. 2 Feudalism had never been 
strong in the realms of Castile, because the frontier 
nobles, who for centuries pushed back gradually the 
Moorish power, always had to depend upon conciliating 
the towns they occupied, in order that the new regime 
might be more welcome than the one displaced. The 
germ of institutions in Spain had ever been the muni- 
cipality, not the village grouped around the castle or 
the abbey as in England, and the soldier noble in Spain, 
unlike the English or German baron, had to win the 
support of townsmen, not to dispose of agricultural 

1 Hernando de Pulgar, ' Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos. 5 

2 Letter of Diego de Valera to Henry iv. MS. quoted by Amador de 
las Rios. Historia de Madrid. See also the famous poems of the time, 
Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, and Coplas del Provincial, where vivid pictures 
are given of the prevailing anarchy. 


serfs. But when the Moors in Spain had been reduced 
to impotence, and a series of weak kings had been 
raised to the throne as the puppets of nobles ; then 
when feudalism was dying elsewhere, it attempted to 
raise its head in Spain, capturing the government of 
towns on the one hand and beggaring and dominat- 
ing the King on the other. By the time of which 
we are now speaking, the process was well nigh 
complete ; and the only safeguard against the absolute 
tyranny of the nobles, was their mutual greed and 

For years Juan Pacheco, Marquis of Villena, had 
ruled the King with a rod of iron. The grants and 
gifts he had extorted for himself and his friends made 
him more powerful than any other force in the land. 
But there were those who sulked apart from him, 
nobles, some of them, of higher lineage and greater 
hereditary territories than his ; and when the handsome 
foot page, Beltran de la Cueva, captured the good 
graces of the King and his gay young Portuguese 
wife, Queen Juana, the enemies of Villena saw in the 
rising star an instrument by which he -might be 
humbled. After the Beltraneja's birth and christening, 
honours almost royal were piled upon Beltran de la 
Cueva ; and Villena and his uncle, Alfonso Carrillo, 
Archbishop of Toledo, grew ever more indignant and 
discontented. Only a fortnight after the Cortes had 
sworn allegiance to the new Princess, Villena drew up 
a secret protest against the act, alleging the illegiti- 
macy of the child, 1 and soon open opposition to King 
and favourite was declared. 

There is no space here to relate in detail the 

1 The protest is in the archives of Villena's descendant, the present Duke 
of Frias, to whom I am indebted for an abstract of it. 


complicated series of intrigues and humiliations that 
followed. The King on one occasion was forced to 
hide in his own palace from the assaulting soldiery of 
Villena. To buy the goodwill of the jealous favourite 
towards his little daughter he went so far as to agree 
to a marriage between the Beltraneja and Villena's 
son; 1 and more humiliating still, in December 1464, 
he consented to the inquiry of a commission of church- 
men nominated by Villena and his friends, to inquire 
into the legitimacy of his reputed daughter. The 
inquiry elicited much piquant but entirely contra- 
dictory evidence as to the virility of the King, who, 
it was admitted on all hands, delighted in the society 
of ladies, and aroused the violent jealousy of the 
Queen ; but, although with our present lights there 
seems to have been no valid reason for disinheriting 
the princess, the commission was sufficiently in doubt 
to recommend the King to make the best term? he 
could with the rebels. The King's sister, Princess 
Isabel, who at the time lived at Court, was also used 
as an instrument by Henry to pacify the league against 
him. She had been betrothed when quite a child at 
Arevalo to Prince Charles of Viana, eldest son of the 
King of Aragon, and in right of his mother himself 
King of Navarre ; a splendid match which, failing 
issue from Henry and from her younger brother 
Alfonso, might have led to the union of all Spain 
in one realm. But Charles of Viana had already in 
1461 fallen a victim to the hate and jealousy of his 
stepmother, Juana Enriquez, daughter of a great 
Castilian noble, Don Fadrique, the Admiral of the 

The origin . treaty, which of course came to nothing, is in the Frias 
Archives, and s signed by Louis xi. as one of the contracting parties. 
It is dated 9tn May 1463. I have not seen the fact stated elsewhere. 


realm, and Isabel became to her brother a valuable 
diplomatic asset. Before the storm of war burst 
Henry attempted to wed his sister to Alfonso v. of 
Portugal, his wife's brother, and so to prevent her 
claims to the Castilian crown being urged to the 
detriment of the Beltraneja ; but the match had no 
attraction for the clever cautious girl of thirteen ; for 
the suitor was middle-aged and ugly, and already her 
own genius or crafty councillors had suggested to her 
the husband who would best serve her own interests. 
So she gravely reminded her brother that she, a 
Castilian princess, could not legally be bestowed in 
marriage without the formal ratification of the 

In September 1564 Beltran de la Cueva received 
the great rank of Master of Santiago, which endowed 
him not only with vast revenues, but the disposal of 
an armed force second to none in the kingdom, and 
this new folly of the King was the signal for revolt. 
A party of nobles immediately seized Valladolid against 
the King, and though the townspeople promptly 
expelled them and proclaimed the loyalty of the city, 
the issue between the factions was now joined. On 
the following day, i6th September, an attempt that 
nearly succeeded was made to capture and kidnap 
the King himself near Segovia. He was a poor, 
feeble-minded creature, hating strife and danger, and, 
though some of his stronger councillors protested 
against such weakness, he consented to meet the 
revolted nobles, and redress their grievances. In 
October Villena, the Archbishop of Toledo, Count 
Benavente, the Admiral Don Fadrique, and the rest 
of the rebels, met Henry between Cabezon and Cigales, 
and in three interviews, during their stay of five weeks, 


dictated to the wretched King their demands. 1 The 
King was to dismiss his Moorish guard and become 
a better Christian : he was to ask for no more money 
without the consent of the nobles, to deprive Cueva 
of the Mastership of Santiago, recognise his own 
impotence and the bastardy of his daughter, and ac- 
knowledge as his heir his half-brother Alfonso, 
whom he was to deliver to the guardianship of Villena. 
On the 30th November the nobles and the King took 
the oath to hold the boy Alfonso as the heir of 
Spain ; and then Henry, a mere cypher thenceforward, 
sadly wended his way to Segovia, where the com- 
mission to inquire into the shameful question of his 
virility was still sitting, 2 and Villena and his uncle, the 
warlike Archbishop, were thus practically the rulers of 
Spain. But though Henry consented to everything 
he characteristically tried to avoid the spirit of the 
agreement. Beltran de la Cueva was deprived of the 
Mastership of Santiago, but he was made Duke of 
Alburquerque in exchange for the loss, and the poor 
little disinherited Beltraneja was treated with greater 
consideration than before. 

When civil war was seen to be inevitable in the 
spring of 1465, Henry carried his wife and child with 
his sister Isabel to Salamanca, whilst the Archbishop 

1 The text of the demands, under thirty-nine heads, will be found in 
the ' Documentos Ineditos,' vol. xiv. p. 369. 

2 The exact sequence and dates of these and the following events have 
never yet been made clear in any of the numerous histories of the time, 
not even in Prescott, owing to the fact that Enriquez de Castillo and 
Pulgar very rarely give dates, whilst Galindez only mentions the years 
of such happenings as he records. The printing of the contemporary 
so-called ' Cronicon de Valladolid' (partly written by Isabel's physician, 
Dr. Toledo) in the ' Documentos Ineditos, 3 now enables us to set forth 
the events chronologically, and thus the better to understand their 


of Toledo, in the name of the revolted nobles, seized 
the walled city of Avila, where within a few days he 
was joined by Villena and his friends, bringing with 
them the Infante Alfonso, who, in pursuance of the 
agreement made with the King at Cigales, had received 
the oath of allegiance as heir to the crown. From the 
King it was clear that the nobles could hope for no 
more, for he had summoned the nation to arms to 
oppose them ; but from a child King of their own 
making, rich grants could still be wrung, and for the 
first time since the dying days of the Gothic monarchy, 
the sacredness of the anointed Sovereign of Castile 
was mocked and derided. In April 1565, at Plascencia, 
the nobles swore secretly to hold Alfonso as King ; 
and on the 5th June 1564, on a mound within sight 
of the walls of Avila, the public scene was enacted 
that shocked Spain like a sacrilege. Upon a staging 
there was seated a lay figure in mourning robes, with 
a royal crown upon its head ; a sword of state before 
it, and in the hand a sceptre. A great multitude of 
people with bated breath awaited the living actors in 
the scene ; and soon there issued from the city gate a 
brilliant cavalcade of nobles and bishops, headed by 
Villena escorting the little prince Alfonso. Arriving 
before the scaffolding, and in mockery saluting the 
figure, most of the nobles mounted the platform, whilst 
Villena, the Master of Alcantara, and Count Medillin, 
with a bodyguard, conveyed the Infante to a coign of 
vantage some distance away. Then in a loud voice 
was read upon the platform the impeachment of the 
King, which was summed up under four heads. For 
the first, it ran, Henry of Castile is unworthy to enjoy 
the regal dignity ; and as the tremendous words were 
read the Archbishop of Toledo stepped forth and tore 


the royal crown from the brows of the lifeless doll : for 
the second, he is unfit to administer justice in the realm, 
and the Count of Plascencia removed the sword of state 
from its place : for the third, no rule or government 
should be entrusted to him, and Count of Benavente 
took from the figure's powerless grasp the sceptre 
which it held : for the fourth, he should be deprived of 
the throne and the honour due to kings, whereupon 
Don Diego Lopez de Zuniga cast the dummy down 
and trampled it under foot, amidst the jeers and curses 
of the crowd. When this was done, and the platform 
cleared, young Alfonso was raised aloft in the arms of 
men that all might see, and a great shout went up of 
" Castillo,, Castilla, for the King Don Alfonso" and 
then, seated on the throne, the boy gave his hand to 
kiss to those who came to pay their new sovereign 
fealty. Like wildfire across the steppes and mountains 
of Castile sped the awful news, and Henry in Sala- 
manca was soon surrounded by hosts of subjects whose 
reverence for a sacrosanct King had been wounded by 
what they regarded as impious blasphemy. 

Both factions flew to arms, and for months civil war 
raged, the walled cities being alternately besieged and 
captured by both parties. Isabel herself remained 
with the King, usually at Segovia or Madrid ; though 
with our knowledge of her character and tastes, she 
can have had little sympathy with the tone of her 
brother's court. At one time during the lingering 
struggle in 1466, Henry endeavoured to win Villena 
and his family from the side of rebellion by betrothing 
Isabel to Don Pedro Giron, Master of Calatrava, 
Villena's brother. The suitor was an uncouth boor, 
and that an Infanta of Castile should be sacrificed in 
marriage with an upstart such as he was too much for 


Isabel's pride and great ambition. Nothing in the 
world, she said, should bring her to such a humiliation ; 
though the King, careless of her protests, petitioned 
the Pope to dispense Don Pedro from his pledge of 
celibacy as Master of a monkish military order. 
Isabel's faithful friend, Dona Beatriz Bobadilla, wife 
of Andres Cabrera, High Steward of the King, and 
Commander of the fortress of Segovia, was as deter- 
mined as her mistress that the marriage should not 
take place, and swore herself to murder Don Pedro, if 
necessary, to prevent it. A better way was found 
than by Dona Beatriz's dagger, for when the papal 
dispensation arrived, and the prospective bridegroom 
set out in triumph to claim his bride, poison cut short 
his career as soon as he left his home. Whether 
Isabel herself was an accomplice of the act will never 
be known. She probably would not have hesitated to 
sanction it in the circumstances, according to the ethics 
of the time ; for she never flinched, as her brother did, 
at inflicting suffering for what she considered necessary 

On the 2Oth August 1467, the main bodies of both 
factions met on the historic battlefield of Olmedo, the 
warlike Archbishop of Toledo, clad in armour covered 
by a surcoat embroidered with the holy symbols, led 
into battle the boy pretender Alfonso ; whilst the 
royal favourite, Beltran de la Cueva, now Duke of 
Alburquerque, on the King's side, matched the valour 
of the Churchman. 1 Both sides suffered severely, but 
the pusillanimity of the King caused the fight to be 
regarded as a defeat for him, and the capture of his 
royal fortress of Segovia soon afterwards proved his 
impotence in arms so clearly, that a sort of modus 

1 Enriquez de Castillo, ' Cronica de Enrique IV.' 


vivendi was arranged, by which for nearly a year each 
King issued decrees and ostensibly ruled the territories 
held by his partisans. 1 

At length, in July 1468, the promising young pre- 
tender Alfonso died suddenly and mysteriously in his 
fifteenth year, at Cardenosa, near Avila ; perhaps of 
plague, as was said at the time, but more probably of 
poison ; 2 and the whole position was at once revolution- 
ised. Isabel had been in the Alcazar of Segovia with 
her friends the commander and his wife when the city 
was surrendered to the rebels, and from that time, late 
in 1567, she had followed the fortunes of Alfonso, with 
whom she was at his death. She at once retired 
broken-hearted to the convent of Santa Clara in Avila, 
but not, we may be certain, unmindful of the great 
change wrought in her prospects by her brother's pre- 
mature death. She was nearly seventeen years of age, 
learned and precocious far beyond her years ; the 
events that had passed around her for the last six years 
had matured her naturally strong judgment, and there 
is no doubt from what followed that she had already 
decided upon her course of action. She was without 
such affectionate guidance as girls of her age usually 
enjoy ; for her unhappy widowed mother, to whom she 
was always tender and kind, had already fallen a victim 
to the hereditary curse of the house of Portugal, to 
which she belonged, and lived thenceforward in leth- 

1 A number of decrees issued by Alfonso at the time, conferring upon 
Villena and his partisans great grants and privileges, are in the Frias 
archives ; and other charters rewarding the city of Avila for its adherence 
to his cause have recently been printed by the Chronicler of the city from 
its archives, Sr. de Foronda. 

2 Of a poisoned trout which he ate, it was asserted by his partisans. 
The suspicion of poison is strengthened by the fact that his death was 
publicly announced as a fact some days before it happened, when he was 
quite well. 


argic insanity in her castle of Arevalo. Isabel's 
brother the King was her enemy, and she had no other 
near relative : the churchmen and nobles who had 
risen against Henry, and were now around her, were, 
it must have been evident to her, greedy rogues bent 
really upon undermining the royal power for their own 
benefit ; and deeply devout as Isabel was, she was 
quite unblinded by the illusion that the Archbishop 
and bishops who led the, revolt jv^ere_mpyed to their 
action by any considerations of morality or religion. 
On the other hand, the rebellious nobles and ecclesias- 
tics could not persist in their revolt without a royal 
figure head. Young Alfonso, a mere child, had been 
an easy tool, and doubtless the leaders thought that 
this silent, self-possessed damsel would be quite as 
facile to manage. 

They did not have to wait many days for proof to. 
the contrary. The Archbishop of Toledo was the 
mouthpiece of his associates. Within the venerable 
walls of the royal convent at Avila he set before Isabel 
a vivid picture of the evils of her elder brother's rule, 
his shameful laxity of life, his lavish squandering of 
the nation's wealth upon unworthy objects, and the 
admitted illegitimacy of the daughter he wished to 
make his heiress ; and the Archbishop ended by 
offering to Isabel, in the name of the nobles, the 
crowns of Castile. The wearer of these crowns, 
wrested painfully through centuries of struggle from 
intruding infidels, had always been held sacred. The 
religious exaltation born of the reconquest had invested 
the Christian sovereigns in the eyes of their subjects 
with divine sanction and special saintly patronage. 
To attack them was not disloyalty alone, but sacrilege ; 
and the deposition of Henry at Avila had, as we have 


seen, thrilled Spain with horror. It was no part of 
Isabel's plan to do anything that might weaken the 
reverence that surrounded the throne to which she 
knew now she might succeed. So her answer to the 
prelate was firm as well as wise. With many sage 
reflections taken from the didactic books that had 
always been her study, she declared that she would 
never accept a crown that was not hers by right. She 
desired to end the miserable war, she said, and to be 
reconciled to her brother and sovereign. If the nobles 
desired to serve her they would not try to make her 
Queen before her time, but persuade the King to 
acknowledge her as his heir, since they assured her 
that the Princess Juana was the fruit of adultery. 

At first the nobles were dismayed at an answer that 
some thought would mean ruin to them. But the 
Archbishop, Carrillo, knew the weakness of Henry, 
and whispered to Villena as they descended the 
convent stairs, that the Infanta's resolve to claim 
the heirship would mean safety and victory for them. 
Little did he or the rest of the nobles know the great 
spirit and iron will of the girl with whom they had to 
deal. No time was lost in approaching the King. 
He was ready to agree to anything for a quiet life, 
and Alburquerque, and even the great Cardinal 
Mendoza, agreed with him that an accord was 
advisable ; though it might be broken afterwards 
when the nobles were disarmed. Before the end 
of August all was settled, and the cities of Castile had 
sent their deputies to take the oath of allegiance to 
Isabel as heiress to the crown. A formal meeting was 
arranged to take place between Henry and his sister 
at a place called the Venta de los Toros de Guisando, 
a hostelry famous for some prehistoric stone figures of 


undetermined beasts in the neighbourhood. All was 
amiable on the surface. Henry embraced his sister 
and promised her his future affection, settling upon her 
the principality of Asturias and Oviedo, and the cities 
of Avila, Huete, Medina, and many others, with all 
revenues and jurisdictions as from the beginning of 
the revolt (September I464). 1 But by the agreement 
Isabel was bound not to marry without the King's 
consent, and it is evident that to this condition Henry 
and his friends looked for rendering their concessions 

The intrigues of the two parties of Castile were 
therefore now centred upon the marriage of the 
Princess. Suitors were not lacking. If we are to 
believe Hall, Edward iv. of England, before his 
marriage with Elizabeth Grey, was approached by 
the Spaniards, and it is certain that his brother 
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was at one time a 
wooer. Either of them would have suited Henry of 
Castile, because it would have removed Isabel from 
Spain. A Portuguese would have also been acceptable 
to the same party, because Portugal was naturally on 
the side of the Beltraneja and her Portuguese mother. 
But Isabel had other views, and the only suitors that 
were entertained seriously were the Duke of Guienne, 
the brother of Louis XL, and the young Ferdinand of 
Aragon, the son and heir of John n. and nephew of 

1 In a series of documents recently published from the archives of the 
city of Avila by St. Foronda, there is one very curious charter signed by 
Isabel on 2nd September, before even she started for the interview with 
her brother. In it she already acts as sovereign of Avila, confirming the 
many privileges given to the city by her brother Alfonso, whom she calls 
King, and cancelling the grants of territories belonging to the city which 
King Henry had made to his follower, the Count of Alba. Thus she 
annulled the King's grants before he bestowed the city upon her. 



the doughty old Admiral of Castile, who had stood by 
the side of the nobles in their revolt. There was 
never any doubt as to which of the suitors Isabel 
favoured. The Frenchman was reported to her as a 
poor, puny creature with weak legs and watery eyes, 
whilst Ferdinand, a youth of her own age, was praised 
to the skies for his manliness, his good looks, and his 
abilities, by those whose judgment she trusted. It is 
impossible to say whether Isabel as yet fully under- 
stood what such a marriage might mean to Spain ; but 
it is certain that the wicked old John n. of Aragon 
was quite aware of its advantages for his own realm. 

The house of Aragon, with its domains of Sicily and 
Naples, and its secular ambition towards the east, had 
found itself everywhere opposed by the growing power 
of France. The Mediterranean, the seat of empire for 
centuries, had no finer havens than those under the 
sceptre of Aragon, but the Catalans were harsh and 
independent with their kings, and sparing of their 
money for royal purposes. A poor king of Aragon 
could not hope, with his own unaided resources, to 
beat France on the Gulf of Lyons, and bear the red 
and yellow banner of Barcelona to the infidel Levant. 
But with the resources in men and money of greater 
Castile at his bidding, all was possible; and John n., 
who had not scrupled to murder his first-born son for 

j the benefit of his second, and oust his own children 
from their mother's realm of Navarre, was ready to go 
to any lengths to bring about the union which might 
realise the dream of Aragon. 

From Isabel's point of view, too, the match was a 

w good one, apart from personal inclination. There is 
no doubt whatever that she was, even thus early, 
determined when her time came to crush the tyrannous 


nobles who had reduced Castile to anarchy and the 
sovereign to a contemptible lay figure. With her 
great talent she understood that to do this she must 
dispose of force apart from that afforded by any league 
of nobles in Castile itself; and she looked towards 
Aragon to lend her such additional strength. This 
fact, however, was not lost upon the greedy nobles, 
especially Villena. The turbulent leader of conspiracy 
already looked askance at the quiet determined girl 
who thus early imposed her will upon her followers, 
and throwing his power again on the side of the king 
he had once solemnly deposed, he seized the master- 
ship of Santiago as his reward. In a panic at the fear 
of the Aragonese match, the king and Villena once 
more agreed to marry Isabel with the king of Portugal, 
Villena and Cardinal Mendoza being heavily bribed 
by the Portuguese for their aid. 1 Isabel was at her town 
of Ocana at the time, and her position was extremely 
difficult and perilous when the Portuguese envoys 
came to her with Villena to offer her their king's hand. 
As Isabel had several weeks before secretly bound 
herself to marry Ferdinand of Aragon, her reply was 
a diplomatic refusal to the Portuguese advances ; and 
Villena, enraged, was disposed to capture her on the 
spot and carry her a prisoner to Court. Inconvenient 
princes and princesses were easily removed in those 
days, and Isabel's danger was great. But she had the 
faculty of compelling love and admiration ; she was as 
brave as a lion and as cunning as a serpent, and the 
people of Ocafia made it quite evident to Villena that 
they would allow no violence to be offered to her. 
But clearly something must be done to prevent Isabel 

1 The original deed signed by the King of Portugal, dated 2nd May 
1469, is in the Frias archives. 


from becoming too strong ; and as a last resort after 
her refusal to entertain the Portuguese match it was 
determined to capture her by force of arms. She was 
then at Madrigal, and Villena's nephew, the Bishop of 
Burgos, bribed her servants to desert her in her hour 
of need : the King sent orders to the townsmen that 
no resistance was to be offered to his officers ; and 
Cardinal Mendoza with a strong force marched towards 
Madrigal to arrest Isabel. But another archbishop, 
more warlike than he, Carrillo of Toledo, was before 
him. With the Admiral Don Fadrique and a band of 
horsemen, he swooped down from Leon and bore 
Isabel to safety amongst those who would have died 
for her, and entered into the great city of Valladolid 
after sunset on the 3ist August 1469. No time was 
to be lost. Envoys were sent in disguise hurrying up 
to Saragossa, to hasten the coming of the bridegroom. 
The service was a dangerous one ; for if Ferdinand 
had fallen into the hands of the Court party a short 
shrift would have been his. But the stake was great, 
and Juan n. of Aragon and his son, young as the latter 
was, did not stick at trifles. One difficulty, indeed, 
was overcome characteristically. Isabel was known to 
be rigidity itself in matters of propriety ; and, as she 
and Ferdinand were second cousins, a papal bull was 
necessary for the marriage. The Pope, Paul IL, was 
on the side of the Castilian Court, and no bull could 
be got from him ; but Juan n. of Aragon and the 
Archbishop of Toledo carefully had one forged to 
satisfy Isabel's scruples. 1 

Whilst one imposing cavalcade of Aragonese bear- 

1 Isabel only learnt of the deception practised upon her some time 
afterwards (1471) from the partisans of the Beltraneja's projected marriage 
with the Duke of Guienne. A genuine bull of dispensation was after- 
wards granted to her by the new Pope, Sixtus IV. 


ing rich presents took the high road into Castile and 
occupied the attention of the King's officers, a modest 
party of five merchants threaded the mountain paths 
by Soria, after leaving the Aragonese territory at 
Tarrazona on the 7th October. The first day after 
entering Castile they rocle well-nigh sixty miles ; and 
late at night the little cavalcade approached the walled 
town of Osma, where Pedro Manrique and an armed 
escort were to meet them. The night was black, and 
their summons at the gates of the town was misunder- 
stood : a cry went up that this was a body of the 
king's men to surprise the place ; and from the ram- 
parts a shower of missiles flew upon the strangers 
below. One murderous stone whizzed within a few 
inches of the head of a fair-haired lad of handsome 
visage and manly bearing, who, as a servant, accom- 
panied those who wore the garb of merchants. It was 
Ferdinand himself who thus narrowly escaped death, 
and a hurried explanation, a shouted password, the 
flashing of torches followed, and then the creaking 
drawbridge fell, the great gates clanged open, and the 
danger was over. 1 The next day, with larger forces, 
Ferdinand reached Dueflas, in Leon, near Valladolid ; 
and four days later, now in raiment that befitted a 
royal bridegroom, for his father had made him king 
of Sicily, he rode when most men slept to Valladolid. 
It was nearly midnight when he arrived, and the gates 
of the city were closed for the night, but a postern 
in the walls gave access to the house in which Isabel 
was lodged ; and there the Archbishop of Toledo led 
him by hand into the presence of his bride, to whom 

1 The story of Ferdinand's coming and his marriage is graphically told 
in the Decades of Alfonso de Palencia, who had been sent from Isabel to 
fetch him, and accompanied him on his journey. 


he was solemnly betrothed by the Archbishop's chap- 
lain. It was all done so secretly that no inkling of it 
reached the slumbering town ; and within two hours 
the youth was in the saddle again and reached Duenas 
long before dawn. 1 

On the 1 8th October 1 469, four days later, all was ready 
for the public marriage, and Ferdinand entered the city 
this time in state, with Castilian and Aragonese men-at- 
arms and knights around him. Isabel was staying at 
the best house in Valladolid, that of her partisan, Juan 
Vivero, and the great hall was richly decked for the 
occasion of this, one of the fateful marriages of history, 
though none could have known that it was such at the 
time. The celebrant was the warlike Archbishop who 
had been so powerful a factor in bringing it about ; and 
the next day, after mass, the married pair dined in 
public amidst the rejoicing of the faithful people of 
Valladolid. There was little pomp and circumstance 
in the wedding, for the times were critical, the realm 
disturbed, and money scarce ; but imagination is stirred 
by the recollection of the great consequences that 
ensued upon it, and those who saw the event, even 
with their necessarily limited vision of its effects, must 
have realised that any splendour lavished upon it 
could not have enhanced its importance. 

The news of the dreaded marriage filled the King 
and his court with dismay. Villena, in close league 
with Alburquerque and the Mendozas, now espoused 
the cause of the Beltraneja, 2 who was declared the 

1 * Cronicon de Valladolid,' a diary kept at Valladolid at the time by Dr. 
Toledo, Isabel's physician. Doc. Ined. 14. 

2 In the Frias archives there is an undertaking, dated 2nd October 
1470, signed by the Duke of Guienne, promising rewards to Cardinal 
Mendoza, the Marquis of Villena, the Duke of Arevalo, and others, for 
their aid in bringing about the betrothal with the Beltraneja. 


legitimate heiress to the Crown, and betrothed to 
Isabel's former suitor, the Duke of Guienne, in the 
presence of the assembled nobles, at the monastery of 
Loyola, near Segovia. It mattered not, apparently, 
that the very men who now swore fealty to Juana, the 
hapless Beltraneja, had previously denounced her as a 
bastard : they wanted a puppet, not a mistress, as 
Isabel was likely to be, and they were quite ready to 
perjure themselves in their own interests. Isabel was 
formally deprived of all her grants and privileges, even 
of the lordship of her town of Duefias, near Valladolid j 1 
where she and Ferdinand had kept their little court, 
and where their first child had just been born (October 
1470), a daughter, to whom they gave the name of 

Ferdinand could not remain long in idleness, and 
was soon summoned by his father to aid him in a war 
with France, being absent from his wife for over a 
year, winning fresh experience and credit both as 
soldier and negotiator. In the meanwhile, things were 
going badly again for the Beltraneja. Her French 
betrothed died in May 1472 ; and some of the nobles, 
jealous of the greed of Villena, were once more waver- 
ing, and making secret approaches to Isabel. She 
had bold and zealous friends in the Chamberlain 
Cabrera, who held the strong castle of Segovia, and 
his wife, Beatriz de Bobadilla. 2 In the last weeks of 

1 Duefias was granted on the same day, 2ist October 1470, to the 
Princess Dona Juana (the Beltraneja). Cronicon de Valladolid. 

2 How much Isabel prized the fidelity of these steadfast adherents is 
seen by the last act of her life. On her deathbed she revoked not very 
honestly or graciously most people think all grants and rewards she had 
given out of crown possessions, on the pretext that she had been moved 
to make them more by need than by her own wish. The only exception 
she made was the manors of the Marquisite of Moya, which, with the title, 
had . ? ranted to Cabrera and his wife Dona Beatriz Bobadilla. 

. . o.- - r ...~'i 


1473, Dona Beatriz and her husband urged Henry to 
forgive and receive his sister. She was, they told 
him, being persecuted by the Marquis of Villena, and 
had meant no harm in her marriage with the man she 
loved. Henry was doubtful, but Cardinal Mendoza 
and Count Benavente had changed sides again, and 
now quietly used their influence in Isabel's favour. 
A grudging promise was given by the King, but it was 
enough for Dona Beatriz ; and, disguised as a farmer's 
wife, she set forth from Segovia on a market pad ; and 
alone over the snowy roads, hurried to carry the good 
news to the Princess in the town of Aranda, which had 
just been surrendered to her by the townsfolk. A few 
days afterwards, on further advice from Dona Beatriz, 
Isabel, escorted by the Archbishop of Toledo and his 
men-at-arms, travelled through the night, and before 
the first streak of dawn on the 28th December 1473, 
they were admitted into the Alcazar of Segovia, where 
no force but treachery could harm her. 

Villena's son, who, fearing betrayal, had refused to 
enter the city when he had come with the King weeks 
before, and had remained in the neighbourhood at the 
famous Geronomite monastery of El Parral, founded 
by his father, fled at the news. His father, with 
Alburquerque and the Constable of Castile, Count of 
Haro, at once met at Cuellar, and sent an insolent 
order to Henry to expel his sister from Segovia. It 
came too late, however. The King, by this time, had 
met Isabel, who had received him at the gate of the 
Alcazar, and professed her love and duty to him. In 
a speech full of womanly wisdom, 1 she said she had 
come to pray him to put aside anger towards her, for 
she meant no evil; and all she asked was that he 

1 Recorded in Enriquez de Castillo's ' Cronica de Enrique 


should fulfil his oath taken at Toros de Guisando, and 
acknowledge her as heiress of Castile. ' For by the 
laws of God and man, the succession belonged to her/ 
Weak Henry swayed from one side to the other like 
a reed in the wind, as either party had his ear ; and at 
last Isabel took the bold course of sending secretly for 
Ferdinand, who had just returned from Aragon. The 
risk was great, but Isabel knew, at least, that she 
could depend upon the Commander of the Alcazar of 
Segovia, and Ferdinand secretly entered the fortress 
on the 4th January 1474. It was a difficult matter for 
Dona Beatriz to persuade the King to receive his 
young brother-in-law ; but she succeeded at last, and 
when Henry had consented, he did the thing hand- 
somely, and they all rode together through the city in 
state, with great show of affection and rejoicing. On 
Twelfth Day, Dona Beatriz and her husband gave a 
great banquet to the royal party l at the Bishop's 
palace, between the Alcazar and the Cathedral. Whilst 
the minstrels were playing in the hall after dinner, the 
King suddenly fell ill. Violent vomiting and purging 
seemed to point to poison, and the alarm was great. 
Prayers and processions continued night and day, and 
the unfortunate man seemed to recover ; but, though 
he lived for nearly a year longer, he never was well 
again, the irritation of the stomach continuing in- 
cessantly until he sank from weakness. 

In the interim both factions interminably worried 
him to settle the succession. Sometimes he would 
lean to Isabel's friends, sometimes to Villena and 
Alburquerque, but Isabel herself, wise and cautious, 

1 It should be mentioned that the faithless Queen of Henry IV., the 
mother of the Beltraneja, lived apart from him in Madrid. She had 
several children by various men subsequently. 


knew where safety alone for her could be found, and 
took care not to stir outside the Alcazar of Segovia, 
in the firm keeping of Cabrera, who himself was in 
the firm keeping of his wife, Dona Beatriz. Once 
in the summer it was found that the King had 
treacherously agreed that Villena's forces should sur- 
reptitiously enter the town and occupy the towers of 
the cathedral, whence they might throw explosives 
into the Alcazar and capture Isabel on the ground 
that she was poisoning the King ; but the plan was 
frustrated, and Henry, either in fear or ashamed of 
his part of the transaction, left Segovia to place him- 
self in the hands of Villena at Cuellar. Greedy to 
the last, Villena carried the sick King to Estremadura 
to obtain the surrender of some towns there that he 
coveted ; but to Henry's expressed grief, and the 
relief of the country, the insatiable favourite died un- 
expectedly of a malignant gathering in the throat on 
the way, and the King returned to Madrid, himself 
a dying man. His worthless life flickered out before 
dawn on the I2th December 1474, and his last plans 
were for the rehabilitation of the Beltraneja. He is 
said to have left a will bequeathing her the suc- 
cession ; but Cardinal Mendoza, Count Benavente, 
and his other executors, never produced such a docu- 
ment, which, moreover, would have been repudiated 
now by the nation at large, passionately loyal, as it 
already mainly was, to Isabel. 1 

1 Galindez tells the story that Henry on his deathbed swore that Juana 
was really his child, and says that he left a will in her favour of which 
Villena was the executor. The latter having predeceased the King, the 
will remained in the keeping of Oviedo, the King's secretary, who after- 
wards entrusted it to the curate of Santa Cruz at Madrid. He, fearing to 
hold it, enclosed it in a chest with other papers and buried it at Almeida, 
in Portugal. Years afterwards Isabel learnt of this, and when, in 1504, 


There was hardly a private or public shortcoming 
of which Henry in his lifetime had not been accused. 
From the Sovereign Pontiff to frank, but humble 
subjects, remonstrances against his notoriously bad 
conduct had been offered to the wretched King ; and 
at his death the accumulated evils, bred by a line of 
frivolous monarchs, had reached their climax. There 
was no justice, order or security for life or property, 
and the strong oppressed the weak without reproach 
or hindrance, the only semblance of law being main- 
tained by the larger walled cities in their territories 
by means of their armed burgess brotherhood. But 
in the disturbances that had succeeded the birth of 
the Beltraneja the cities themselves were divided, and 
in many cases the factions within their own walls made 
them scenes of bloodshed and insecurity. Faith and 
religion, that had hitherto been the mainstay of the 
throne of Castile, had been trampled under foot and 
oppressed by a monarch whose constant companions 
and closest servitors had been of the hated brood of 
Mahomet. Nobles who, for themselves and their 
adherents, had wrung from the Kings nearly all they 
had to give, and threatened even to overwhelm the 
cities, were free from taxation, except the almost 
obsolete feudal aid in spears which the Sovereign 
had nominally a right to summon at need. Such 
~n as Villena, or Alvaro de Luna in the previous 
^n, with more armed followers than the King and 
ater available wealth, were the real sovereigns of 

was mortally ill, she sent the curate and the lawyer who had told her 
isinter the will. When they brought it she was too ill to see it, and ' 
3mained in the lawyer's keeping. He informed Ferdinand after the 
een's death, and the King ordered the document to be burnt, whilst 
lawyer was richly rewarded. Others say, continues Galindez, that the 
per was preserved. 


Castile in turbulent alternation, and the final dis- 
integration of the realm into petty principalities 
appeared to be the natural and imminent outcome of 
the state of affairs that existed when Henry iv. 
breathed his last. 

All Castile and Leon, with their daughter kingdoms, 
were looking and praying for a saviour who could 
bring peace and security ; and at first sight it would 
seem as if a turbulent State that had never been 
ruled by a woman could hardly expect that either of 
the young princesses who claimed the crown could 
bring in its dire need the qualities desired for its sal- 
vation. Isabel's popularity, especially in Valladolid, 
Avila and Segovia, was great ; and at the moment of 
the King's death her friends were the stronger and 
more prompt, for Villena had just died, the Beltraneja 
was but a child of twelve, and the Queen-mother, dis- 
credited and scorned, was lingering out her last days 
in a convent in Madrid. 1 The towns, for the most 
part, awaited events in awe, fearing to take the wrong 
side, and a breathless pause followed the death of the 
King. Isabel was at Segovia, and under her influence 
and that of Cabrera, the city was the first to throw 
off the mask and raised the pennons for Isabel and 
Ferdinand, to whom, in her presence, it swore 
allegiance and proclaimed sovereigns of Castile. 
Valladolid followed on the 2Qth December ; whilst 
Madrid, whose fortress was in the hands of Villr 's 
son, declared for the Beltraneja. The nobles shv.iffied 
again ; moved by personal interest or rivalry, the 
Archbishop of Toledo, abandoning Isabel out 
jealousy of Cardinal Mendoza ; whilst Alburquer^ 
the supposed father of the Beltraneja, joined 1 

1 She died in June 1475. 


opponent, and civil war, aided by foreign invasion from 
Portugal, was organised to dispute with Isabel and 
her husband their right to the crown. 

By rare good fortune_jhe^young couple, who were 
thus forced to fight for their splendid inheritance, 
were the greatest governing geniuses of their age. 
It is time to say something of their gifts and char- 
acters. They were both, at the time of their accession, 
twenty-three years of age, and, as we have seen, their 
experience of life had already been great and dis- 
illusioning. Isabel's was incomparably the higher 
mind of the two. The combined dignity and sweet- 
ness of her demeanour captivated all those who 
approached her, whilst her almost ostentatious religious 
humility and devotion won the powerful commenda- 
tion of the churchmen who had suffered so heavily 
during the reign of Henry. There is no reason to 
doubt her sincerity or her real good intentions any 
more than those of her great-grandson, Philip n., a 
very similar, though far inferior, character. Like him, 
she never flinched from inflicting what we now call 
cruelty in the pursuance of her aims, though she had 
no love for cruelty for its own sake. She_was deter- 
mined that Spain should be united, and that rigid 
orthodoxy should be the cementing bond ; that the 
sacred sovereign of Castile should be supreme over 
the bodies and souls of men, for her crown in her 
eyes was the symbol of divine selection and inspira- 
tion, and nothing done in the service of God by His 
vice-regent could be wrong, great as the suffering 
that it might entail. She was certainly what our 
lax generation calls a bigot ; but bigotry in her time 
and country was a shining virtue, and is still her 
greatest claim to the regard of many of her country- 


men. She was unmerciful in her severity in suppress- 
ing disorder and revolt ; but we have seen the state 
at which affairs had arrived in Castile when she 
acceded to the crown, and it is quite evident that 
nothing but a rod of iron governed by a heart of 
ice was adequate to cope with the situation. Terrible 
as was Isabel's justice, it entailed in the end much 
less suffering than a continuance of the murderous 
anarchy she suppressed. 1 Her strength and activity 
of body matched her prodigious force of mind, and 
she constantly struck awe in her potential opponents 
by her marvellous celerity of movement over desolate 
tracts of country almost without roads, riding often 
throughout the night distances that appear at the 
present day to be almost incredible. 

Ferdinand was as despotic and as ambitious as she, 
but his methods were absolutely different. He wanted 
the streogilu^Castile to push Aragonese interests in 
Ttaly and the Mediterranean ; and, like Isabel, he saw 
tHat religious unity was necessary if he was to be pro- 
vided with a solid national weapon for his hand. But for 
Isabel's exalted mystic views of religion he cared 
nothing. He was, indeed, severely practical in all 
things ; never keeping an oath longer than it suited him 
to do so, loving the crooked way if his end could be 
gamed by it, and he positively gloried in the tergiver- 
sation by which throughout his life he got the better 
of every one with whom he dealt, until death made sport 
of all his plans and got the better of him. His school 

1 Although she allowed a poor madman who attempted to kill Ferdinand 
to be torn to bits by red hot pincers, and consigned_scores of thousands of 
poor wretches to the flames for doubting the correctness of her views on 
religion, she refused ever to go to a bullfight after attending one at which 
two men had been killed. She strongly condemned such waste of human 
life without good object. 


of politics was purely Italian ; and he cynically acted 
upon the knowledge, as Henry vn. of England also 
did, that the suppression of feudalism doomed the 
sovereign to impotence unless he could hoard large 
sums of ready money wrung from subjects. In future 
He" saw that kings would be feared, not for the 
doubtful feudatories they might summon, but in pro- 
portion to the men and arms they could promptly pay 
for in cash ; and he went one better than the two Henry 
Tudors in getting the treasure he saw was needed. 
They squeezed rills of money from religious orthodoxy, 
and divided their subjects for a century ; he drew floods 
of gold by exterminating a heterodox minority, and 
united Spain for the ends he had in view. Ferdinand 
and Isabel might therefore challenge the admiration of 
subjects for their greatness and high aims, and command 
loyalty by their success as rulers ; but they cannot be 
regarded as loveable human beings. 

Between two such strong characters as these it was 
not to be expected that all would be harmonious at first, 
and the married life of Isabel began inauspiciously 
enough in one respect. There is no doubt that both 
Ferdinand and his father intended that the former 
should be King regnant of Castile, and not merely 
King consort. Ferdinand indeed, through his grand- 
father of the same name, was the male heir to the 
Castilian crowns ; and as the Salic law prevailed in 
Aragon, they assumed that it might be enforced in 
Castile. This, however, was very far from Isabel's 
view ; reinforced as she was by the decision of the 
Castilian churchmen and jurists, and she stood firm. 
For a time Ferdinand sulked and threatened to leave 
her to fight out her battle by herself ; but better counsels 
prevailed, and an agreement was made by which they 


were to reign jointly, but that Isabel alone should appoint 
alTcommanders, 6fficers~and administrators, in Uastile, 
ancf retain control of all fiscafmatters in hetvrealms. 

On the 2nd January 1475, Ferdinand joined his wife 
in Segovia, where a Cortes had been summoned to take 
the oath of allegiance to them. Through the thronged 
and cheering street he rode to the Alcazar ; Beltran 
de la Cueva, Duke of Alburquerque, by his side, and 
nobles, bishops and burgesses, flocked to do homage 
to the new sovereigns. Two months later the faithful 
city of Valladolid greeted the royal couple with effusive 
joy ; and a round of festivities drew the lieges and gave 
time for adherents to come in. Both parties were 
mustering forces for the great struggle ; and it needed 
stout hearts on the part of Isabel and her husband to 
face the future. The^Aj^Jihishnj^of Tolado^was nnw 
on the sjde_oj^the_^ekraneja ; and so was Madrid and 
some of the great nobles of Andalucia ; and, worst of 
all, Alfonso of Portugal had been betrothed to his niece 
the Beltraneja ; and was even now gathering his army 
to invade Castile and seize the crown. On the 3rd 
April the new sovereigns held high festival at Valladolid. 
Isabel, in crimson brocade and with a golden crown 
upon her veiled abundant russet hair, mounted a white 
hackney with saddle cloth, housings and mane covered 
with gold and silver flowers. She was followed by 
fourteen noble dames dressed in parti-coloured tabards, 
half green brocade and half claret velvet, and head 
dresses to imitate crowns ; and, as they rode to take the 
place of honour in the tilt yard, men said that no woman 
was ever seen so beautiful and majestic as the Queen 
of Spain. 1 Knights and nobles flocked to the lists, and 

1 Oviedo, who knew her well, says that no other woman could compare 
with her in beauty. 


King Ferdinand rode into the yard mounted upon his 
warhorse to break a lance, the acknowledged finest 
horseman in Spain. But as he entered the populace 
stared to see the strange crest he bore upon his helm, 
and the stranger motto emblazoned upon his shield. 
What could it mean ? asked, not without fear, some of 
those who professed to be his friends. The crest took 
the form of a blacksmith's anvil, and the motto ran ; 

Como yunque sufro y callo, 
Por el tiempo en que me hallo. 

I do bear, like anvil dumb, 
Blows, until the time shall come. 1 

which we are told was meant as a warning to those at 
his side that he knew they were beguiling him with such 
pageantry whilst they were paltering with his enemies. 
It was a gay though ominous feast ; but Isabel could 
not afford much time for such trifling, and on the second 
day she mounted her palfrey and rode out to Torde- 
sillas, forty miles away, to inspect the fortifications, and 
then to make an attempt to win back to her cause the 
Archbishop of Toledo. With prodigious activity the 
young Sovereigns separately travelled from fortress to 
fortress, animating followers, and providing for defence ; 
and Isabel was in the imperial city of Toledo late in 
May 1475, when the news came to her that theJKing 
of ^Portugal had entered Spain with a large army, had 
formally married the Beltraneja at Palencia, and pro- 
claimed himself King of Castile. 2 Without wasting a 
moment Isabel started on horseback for her faithful fief 
of Avila, ninety miles away. She was less than two days 

1 ' Cronicon de Valladolid,' Doc, Ined. 14, and also Alfonso de Palencia. 

2 As one instance of the mercenary character of the Castilian nobles 
of the time, I may mention that there is a bond signed by the King of 
Portugal in the Frias archives promising to young Villena the Mastership 
of Santiago in payment for his help. 



on the road, and, though she had a miscarriage on the 
way at Cabezon she dared not tarry until safe within the 
walls of the city, which she entered on the 28th May. 

For some months thereafter the fate of Spain hung 
in the~ Lalance. Ferdinand strained every nerve, but 
the forces against him were stronger than his, and the 
Archbishop of Toledo with his wealth and following 
had reinforced the Portuguese. The invading army 
lay across the Douro at Toro, a frontier fortress of 
Leon of fabulous strength, and Ferdinand from Valla- 
dolid attempted to push them Back and was beaten. 
All Leon, and the plain of Castile as far as Avila, 
looked at the mercy of the invaders. But the Portu- 
guese was slow of action, and at this critical juncture 
the splendid courage of Isabel saved the situation. 1 
Summoning Cortes 'at her city of Medina, the centre 
of the cloth industry and the greatest mart for bills of 
exchange in Europe, she appealed to their patriotism, 
their loyalty, and their love. Her eloquent plea was 
irresistible. Money was voted without stint, merchants 
and bankers "unlocked tHeir coffers, churches sold 
their plate, and monasteries disinterred their hoards. 
Aragonese troops marched in, Castilian levies came to 
the call of their Queen, and by the end of 1475 
Ferdinand was at the head of an army strong enough 

1 The King of Portugal, having heard that Castilian raiders had crossed 
the Portuguese frontier, is said to have proposed to Ferdinand at this 
juncture a compromise, by which the Beltraneja should be dropped, and 
Isabel recognised in return for the cession to Portugal of all Galicia and 
the two fortresses of Zamora and Toro which he occupied. Ferdinand 
was inclined to agree to this, and sent an envoy to propose it to his wife. 
Before the envoy had finished his first sentence Isabel stopped him 
indignantly, and forbade him to continue. She herself, she said, would 
in future direct the war, and no foot of her own realm of Castile should 
be surrendered. She then hurried to Medina and summoned the Cortes, 
as is told in the text. 


_tp face the invaders. Isabel took her full share of the 
military operations. On the 8th January 1476, she 
rode out of Valladolid through terrible weather, in the 
coldest part of Spain, to join Ferdinand's half-brother, 
Alfonso, before Burgos. For ten days the Queen 
travelled through the deep snowdrifts before she 
reached the camp, to find that the city had already 
surrendered ; and on the evening of her arrival, in the 
gathering dusk, she entered the city of the Cid, to be 
received by kneeling, silk-clad aldermen with heads 
bowed for past transgressions, to be graciously 
pardoned by the Queen. The pardon was hearty 
and prompt ; for these, and such as these, Isabel 
meant to make her instruments for bringing Spain to 

In the meanwhile Ferdinand had marched to meet 
the invading army of 3000 horse and 10,000 foot 
which lay across the Douro at Toro. First he set 
siege to Zamora, between the invading army and its 
base, and the King of Portugal ineffectually attempted 
to blockade him. Failing in this, the invaders on the 
1 7th February raised their camp and marched towards 
Toro again. They stole away silently, but Ferdinand 
followed them as rapidly as possible, and caught up 
with them twelve miles from Toro, late in the after- 
noon, on the banks of the Douro. The charge of the 
Aragonese upon the disorganised army on the march 
was irresistible, and a complete rout of the invaders less than 3od~6T the fugitives being drowned 
in the river in sheer panic. King Alfonso of Portugal 
fled, leaving his royal standard behind him, and before 
nightfall all was over, and the last hope of the 
Beltraneja had faded for ever. 

A month afterwards Zamora, the almost impreg- 


nable fortress, surrendered to Ferdinand ; and then 
the King marched to subdue other towns, whilst 
Isabel laid siege to Toro. The_ Queen scorned to 
avail herself of the privilege of her sex, and suffered 
alTThe hardships and dangers of a soldier's life. Early 
and Tate"sKeTwas on Tiorseback superintending the 
operations, and ordered and witnessed more than one 
unsuccessful assault upon the town. At length, after 
a siege of many months, Tomjtself^fen, the last great 
fortress to hold out, and Isabel rode into the starving 
city in triumph. Then indeed was she Queen of 
Castile, with none toj^uestion Ber right. 

The waverers hastened to join the victorious side, 
the nobles who had helped the Beltraneja, even the 
Archbishop of Toledo, came penitently, one by one, to 
make such terms as their mistress would accord ; 
whilst the Beltraneja-herself, unmarried again by an 
obedient Pope, retired to a Portuguese convent, and 
the King of Portugal afterwards laid aside his royal 
crown and assumed the tonsure and coarse gown of 
a Franciscan friar. Never was victory more complete ; 
and when three years later, earj^ in 1479, the old 
King of Aragon, Ferdinand's father, went to his 
account, Isabel and Ferdinand, for ever known as ' the 
Catholic kings,' by grace of the Pope, reigned over 
Spain jointly from the Pyrenees to the Pillars of 
Hercules, one poor tributary Moorish realm, Granada, 
alone remaining to sully with infidelity the reunited 
domains of the Cross. 

But the elements of aristocratic anarchy still existed, 
especiallyLJn Galicia and Andalucia, where certain 
noble families assumed the position of almost inde- 
pendent sovereigns, and at any time might again 
imperil the very existence of the State. With the 


great ambitions of Ferdinand and the exalted fervour 
of Isabel to spread Christianity, it must have been 
clear to both sovereigns that they must make them- 
selves absolutely supreme in their own country before 
they could attempt to carry out their views abroad. 
The realms of Aragon offered no great difficulty, since 
good order prevailed, although the strict parliamentary 
constitutions sorely limited the regal power, and gave 
to the estates the command of the purse. In Castile, 
however, the nobles, eternally at feud with each other, 
were quite out of hand, and Isabel's first measures 
were directed towards shearing them of their power 
for mischief. All the previous kings of her line that 
of Trastamara had been simply puppets in the hands 
of the nobility ; she was determined, as a preliminary 
of greater things, to be sole mistress in her realm. 
Her task was a tremendous one, and needed supreme 
diplomacy in dividing opponents, as well as firmness 
in suppressing them. Isabel was a host in herself; 
and to her, much more than to her husband, must be 
given the honour of converting utter anarchy into 
order and security in a prodigiously short time. 

The only semblance of settled life and respect for 
law in Castile was to be found in the walled towns. 
The municipal government had always been the unit 
of civilisation in Spain, and the nobility being untaxed, 
the Castilian Cortes consisted entirely of the repre- 
sentatives of the burgesses. With true statesmanship 
Isabel therefore turned to this element to reinforce the 
crown as against lawless nobles. The proposal to 
revive in a new form the old institution of the 
Brotherhood ' of towns was made to her at the 
Cortes at Madrigal in April 1476, and 
was at once accepted. A meeting of deputies was 


called at Duenas in July, and within a few months the 
urban alliance was complete. An armed force of 2000 
horsemen and many foot-soldiers was formed and paid 
by an urban house tax, 1 They were more than a mere 
constabulary, although they ranged the country far and 
wide, and compelled men to keep the peace, for the 
organisation provided a judicial criminal system that 
effectually completed the task of punishment. Magis- 
trates were appointed in every village of thirty families 
for summary jurisdiction, and constables of the 
Brotherhood were in every hamlet, whilst a supreme 
council composed of deputies from every province in 
Castile judged without appeal the causes referred to 
it by local magistrates. The punishments for the 
slightest transgression were terrible in their severity, 
and struck the turbulent classes with dismay. In 
1480 a league of nobles and prelates met at Cabefia, 
under the Duke of Infantado, to protest against the 
Queen's new force of burgesses. In answer to their 
remonstrance she showed her strength by haughtily 
telling them to look to themselves and obey the law, 
and at once established the Brotherhood on a firmer 
footing than before, to be a veritable terror to evil- 
doers, gentle as well as simple. 

Isabellas jio mild saint, as she is so often repre- 
sented. She wasTarToo great a woman and Queen 
to be that ; and though for the first two or three years 

1 Each group of 100 heads of families subscribed sufficient to pay, 
mount, arm, and maintain a horseman ; and when intelligence of a crime 
came, every church bell in the district rang an alarm to summon the 
members of the constabulary to pursue the evil-doer, a special prize being 
given to the captor. It must be understood that the townships in Spain 
extend in every case over a large territory outside the walls, so that 
the house tax, although nominally urban because collected by the 
municipalities, was really collected also from rural hamlets. 


of her reign diplomacy was her principal weapon, no 
sooner had she divided her opponents, and firmly 
established the Holy Brotherhood, than the iron flail 
fell upon those who had offended. In Galicia the 
nobles had practically appropriated to themselves the 
royal revenues, and the Queen's writ had no power. 
That might suit weak Henry, but Isabel was made of 
sterner stuff than her brother had been, and in 1481 
she sent two doughty officers to summon the repre- 
sentatives of the Galician towns to Santiago, and to 
demand of them money and men to bring the nobles 
to their senses. The burgesses despaired, and said 
that nothing less than an act of God would cure the 
many evils from which they suffered. The act of God 
they yearned for came, but Isabel was the instrument. 
Forty-seven fortresses, which were so many brigand 
strongholds, were levelled to the ground in the pro- 
vince ; and some of the highest heads were struck 
from noble shoulders. The stake and the gibbet were 
kept busy, the dungeons and torture chambers full ; 
and those of evil life in sheer terror mended their ways, 
or fled to places were justice was less strict. 

But it is in the suppression of the anarchy at Seville 
that Isabel's personal action is most clearly seen. For 
years the city had been a prey to the sanguinary 
rivalry between two great families who lorded it over 
the greater part of Andalucia, the^ Guzmans and the 
Ponces de Leon ; and at the time of Isabel's accession 
the feud had assumed the form of predatory civil war, 
from which no citizen was safe. The cities of the 
south were less settled in Christian organisation 
than those of the north, and their municipal govern- 
ments not so easy to combine; and Isabel, in 1477, 
determined by her personal presence in Seville to 


enforce the hard lessons she had taught the rest of her 
realms. The armed escort that accompanied her was 
sufficient, added to the awe already awakened by her 
name, to cow the turbulent spirits of Seville. Reviv- 
ing the ancient practice of the Castilian kings, Isabel, 
alone or with her husband by her side, sat every 
Friday in the great hall of the Moorish Alcazar at 
Seville, to deal out justice without appeal to all comers. 
Woe betided the offender who was haled before her. 
The barbaric splendour, which Isabel knew how to use 
with effect, surrounding her, gave to this famous royal 
tribunal a prestige that captured the imagination of the 
semi-oriental population of Seville, whilst the terrible 
seyejrity_j)f its judgments and the lightning rapidity 
ofLJtsjexecutions reduced the population to trembling 
obedience wKilst IsaJSeTstayecTin the city. Xo 
than four thousand malefactors fled mostly across the 
frontier to escape from the Queen's wrath, whilst all 
those who in the past had transgressed, either by 
plundering or maltreating others, and could be caught, 
were made to feel to the full what suffering was. So 
great was Isabel's severity that at last the Bishop of 
Cadiz, accompanied by the clergy and notables of 
Andalucia, and backed by hosts of weeping women, 
came and humbly prayed the Queen to have mercy in 
her justice. Isabel had no objection. She did not 
scourge_and slay because she, loved to do it, but to 
pompeLobedience. Once that was obtained she was 
content to stay her hand ; and before she left the city, 
a general amnesty was given for past offences except 
for serious crimes. But she left behind her an organ- 
ised police and criminal tribunals, active and vigilant 
enough to trample at once upon any attempt at 
ing the former state of things. 


A more difficult task for Isabel was that of reforming 
the moral tone of her court and society at large. The 
Alcazar of Henry iv. had been a sink of iniquity, and 
the lawlessness throughout the country had made the 
practice of virtue almost impossible ; whilst the clergy, 
and especially the regular ecclesiastics, were shamefully 
corrupt. Isabel herself was not only severely discreet 
in her conduct, but determined that no countenance 
should be given to those who were lax in any of the 
proprieties of life ; and it was soon understood by 
ecclesiastics and courtiers that the only certain pass- 
port to advancement in Castile was strict decorum. 
It is probable that much of the sudden reform thus 
effected was merely hypocrisy ; but it lasted long 
enough to become a fixed tradition, and permanently 
raised the standard of public and private life in Spain. 

In all directions Isabel carried forward her work of 
reform. The great nobles found to their dismay, when 
the Queen was strong enough to do it, that she, forti- 
fied by the Cortes of Toledo, had cancelled all the 
unmerited grants so lavishly squandered by previous 
kings upon them. Some of those who had been most 
active in the late troubles, such as the Dukes of 
Alburquerque and Alba and the Admiral of Castile, 
Ferdinand's maternal uncle, were stripped almost to 
the skin. Isabel's revenue on her accession had only 
amounted to 40,000 ducats, barely sufficient for neces- 
sary sustenance ; but in a very few years (1482) it had 
multiplied by more than twelvefold, and thirty millions 
of maravedis a year had been added to the royal 
income from resumed national grants. To all remon- 
strances from those who suffered, Isabel was firm and 
iignified, though conciliatory in manner. Her voice 
was sweet and her bearing womanly ; she always 


ascribed her measures, however oppressive they might 
seem, to her loveloF the country and her determina- 
tion to make it great. Upon this ground she was 
unassailable ; and enlisted upon her side even those 
who felt the pinch by^apgealing to their national pride. 

There was no one mea7ure"that added more to 
Isabel's material power than her policy towards the 
religious orders of knighthood. These three great 
orders, Calatrava, Santiago, and Alcantara, had grown 
out of the long crusade against the Moors ; devout 
celibate soldiers receiving in community vast grants of 
territory which they wrested from the infidel. By the 
time of Isabel jheyjiad grown to be a scandal, for the 
grandmasters disposed of revenues and forces as large 
as those of the crown, and were practically independent 
of it. Isabel's treatment of them was diplomatic and 
wise as usual. As e_ach mastership fell vacant she 
granted it to her husband ; and thus the three most 
dangerous rivals tcPthe royal authority were made 
thenceforward appanages of thejcrown, to which the 
terri toriejs jvere_af terwards appropriated . l 

ThejQueen's activity and strength of body and mind 

1 The importance of obtaining control of the Orders was seen by Isabel 
at the very beginning of her reign. When the Master of Santiago died 
in 1476 the Queen was at Valladolid. Without a moment's delay she 
mounted her horse and rode to the town of Huete, where the Chapter to 
elect the new Master was to be held. She entered the Chapter and in an 
energetic speech urged the knights for the sake of her, their sovereign, to 
elect her husband their Master. The Castilian knights were angry at the 
idea of an Aragonese heading them, and opposed the suggestion. Isabel 
found a way out by pledging Ferdinand to transfer his powers as Master 
to a Castilian as soon as he was elected ; and this he did, appointing his 
faithful follower Cardenas ; but when the latter died Ferdinand became 
actual Master. Thenceforward the knighthoods {encomiendas) were en- 
dowed with pensions derived from rent charges on portions of the estates, 
the bulk of the revenue being absorbed by the King's treasury. For 
details of the Orders and their appropriation, see Ulick Burke's * History 
of Spain' to 1515, edited by Martin Hume. 


must have been marvellous. We hear of her travelling 
vast distances, almost incessantly in the saddle, visiting 
remote parts of her husband's and her own dominions 
for State business, to settle disputed points, to inspect 
fortifications, to animate ecclesiastical or municipal 
bodies, and to suppress threatened disorder. No 
difficulty seemed to dismay her, no opposition to 
deflect her from the exalted purpose she had in view. 
For it must not be supposed that this strenuous 
activity was sporadic and without a central object 
which inspired it all. In this supreme object the 
key^to Isabel's life must be sought. Isabel's mother 
was mad : after the death of her husband she had 
sunk into the gloomy devotional lunacy which afflicted 
in after years so many of her descendants ; and in 
the impressionable years of Isabel's youth, passed in 
the isolated castle of Arevalo, the whole atmosphere 
of her life had been one of mystic religious exaltation. 
The Christian Spaniard of Castile had through 
seven centuries gradually regained for Christ his lost 
kingdom by a constant crusade against the infidel. 
The secular struggle had made him a convinced 
believer in his divine mission to re-establish the reign 
of the cross on earth. To this end saints had led 
him into battle in shining armour, blazing crosses in 
the sky had heralded victory to God's own militia, 
and holy relics, miraculously revealed, had served as 
talismans which ensured success. JVlysticism and the 
yearning for martyrdom was in the, air in Isabel's 
youth, and she, a saintly neurotic, who happened also 
to^be a genius and a queen, shared to__the full the 
Castilian national obsession. The man who fostered 
the growth of this feeling in the young princess at 
Arevalo might have been useful in spurring a sluggish 


mind to devotion ; but to further inflame the zeal of 
a girl of Isabel's innate tendency was unnecessary, 
and of this alone was he capable. He was a fiery, 
uncompromising, Dominican monk, called Tomas de 
Torquemada. The Dominicans, centuries before, had 
been entrusted by the Pope with the special duty to 
maintain the purity of the faith, and as its guardians, 
spiritual pride and arrogance had always been the 
characteristic of the order. Torquemada, as Isabel's 
confessor and spiritual tutor, had abundant oppor- 
tunities of influencing her, and never ceased to keep 
before her the sacred duty imposed upon rulers of 
extirpating heresy, root and branch, at any cost. Her 
own brother Henry had been surrounded by the hated 
infidel, the enemy of Christ and Spain. Failure as a 
king, ruin as a man, and a miserable death, had been 
his portion. And so the lesson was ceaselessly dinned 
into Isabel's ear, that no ruler could be happy or 
successful who did not smite heretics, infidels and 
doubters, hip and thigh, for the glory of God. The 
Moor, she was told, still defiled in Granada the 
sacred soil of Spain, suffered by an unworthy 
Christian king to linger for the sake of the paltry 
tribute paid. 

To_establish_the rule of Christ jm-earth, which she 
was taught was her sacred duty, Isabel knew that a 
strong weapon was needed. Only a united and 
centralised Spain could give her that, and Spain must 
be unifietttirst ofTall. Her marriage with Ferdinand 
*waTT"grea1t step in advance ; her^suppression of the 
nobles and the masterships of the orders another, the 
submission of the country to her will and law a third, 
the increase of her revenues a fourth.; but_a__greater 
than all was the reawakening inthe breasts of all 


jj^_jpnystic exaltation and spiritual pride 
that jjgypl strengtfe-^c^their arms_againsj the Moor 
in_jthe heroic days of olcl. The character of~TheT 
Spanish ^people, and~~the state of the public mind at 
the time, made it easy to stir up the religious rancour 
of the majority against a minority already despised 
and distrusted. Throughout Spain there were 
numerous families of the conquered race nominally 
Christians, but yet living apart in separate quarters, 
and unmixed in blood with their neighbours. They 
were, as a rule, industrious and well-to-do handicrafts- 
men and agriculturists, whose artistic traditions and 
skill gave them the monopoly in many profitable and 
thriving avocations. The Christian Spaniard had not, 
as a rule, developed similar qualities, and were natur- 
ally jealous of the so-called new Christians who lived 
with them, but were not of them. 

There was, however, at first but little open enmity 
between these two races of Spaniards, though distrust 
and dislike existed. It was otherwise in the case of 
the Jews. They, during the centuries of Moorish 
rule, had grown rich and numerous, and had in sub- 
sequent periods almost monopolised banking and 
financial business throughout Spain, marrying in many 
cases into the highest Christian families. As farmers 
of taxes and royal treasurers they had become extremely 
unpopular, especially in Aragon ; and although, for 
the most part, professed Christians, they were eyed 
with extreme jealousy by the people at large, and on 
many occasions had been the victims of attack and 
massacre in various places. 1 Nevertheless, so far as 
can be seen, the first steps towards religious persecu- 

1 As at Jaen in 1473, where the Constable of Castile was killed whilst 
trying to stop the massacre. 


tion by Isabel and her husband do not appear to 
have been prompted, although they may have been 
strengthened, by this feeling. There had for centuries 
existed in Aragon and Sicily an Inquisition for the 
investigation of cases of heresy. It was a purely 
papal institution, and its operations were very mild, 
though extremely unpopular. In Castile, the papal 
Inquisition had never been favoured by rulers, who 
were always jealous of the interference of Rome, and 
at the time of Isabel's accession it had practically 
ceased to exist. 

When the sovereigns were holding Court at Seville 
in 1477, a Sicilian Dominican came to beg for the 
confirmation of an old privilege, giving to the Order 
in Sicily one-third of the property of all the heretics 
condemned there by the Inquisition. This Ferdinand 
and Isabel consented to, and the Dominican, whose 
name was Dei Barberi, suggested to Ferdinand that 
as religious observance had grown, so lax under the 
late King Henry, it might be advisable to introduce 
a similar tribunal into Castile. Ferdinand's ambitions 
were great. He wanted to win for Barcelona the 
mastership of the Mediterranean and the reversion of 
the Christian Empire of the East, and, as a pre- 
liminary, to clear Spain itself of the taint of dominant 
Islam at Granada. He understood that times had 
changed, and that the nerve of war was no longer 
feudal aids, but the concentration in the hands of the 
Kipg of the ready money of his subjects. The people 
who had most of the ready money in Spain were the 
very people whose orthodoxy was open to attack, and 
he welcomed a proposal that might make him rich 
beyond dreams. 

Isabel was not greedy for money as her husband 


was : she was too much of a religious mystic for that ; 
but to spread the kingdom of Christ on earth, to crush 
His enemies and raise His cross supreme in the eyes 
of men, seemed to promise her the only glory for 
which she yearned. By her side was her confessor 
Torquemada, the Dominican Ojeda, and the Papal 
Nuncio, all pressing upon her that to strike at heresy 
in her realms was her duty. So Isabel took the step 
they counselled, and begged the Pope for a bull 
establishing the Inquisition in Castile. The bull was 
granted in September 1478, but no active steps were 
taken for nearly two years. 

In 1480, Isabel and her husband were again in 
Seville, and the Dominicans were ceaseless in their 
exhortations to them to suppress the growing scandal 
of obstinate Judaism. The complaints of the clergy 
against the Jews were such as they knew would be 
supported by the populace. Amongst other things, 
they said that the Jews bought up and ate all the 
meat in the market for their Sabbath, and there was 
none left for Christians on Sunday ; l that they were 
hoarding coin to such an extent that there was a lack 
of currency ; that they donned rich finery and ornaments 
only fit for their betters, and so on. 2 

The various modern apologists of Isabel have striven 
to minimise her share in the establishment of the dread 
tribunal that sprang out of these and similar complaints. 
There seems to me no reason for doing so : she her- 
self probably considered it a most praiseworthy act, 

1 Galindez and Perez de Pulgar. 

2 At the Cortes of Madrigal in 1479, and in those of Toledo in 1480, 
Isabel and Ferdinand renewed all the old ferocious edicts against the use 
of silk and jewels by Jews in their garments, and ordered them strictly to 
confine their residence to the ghettoes, and two years later all toleration 
they enjoyed by papal decree was abolished. 


and her only hesitation in the matter was caused by 
her dislike of strengthening the papal power over the 
church of Castile. 1 There could have been no repug- 
nance in her mind to punishing, however severely, 
those whom she looked upon as God's enemies, and 
consequently unworthy of the privileges of humanity. 
Ferdinand added his persuasion to the clamours of the 
churchmen ; and from Medina del Campo, Isabel, in 

act asjiiguisitors, and to establish their.. tribunaLat 
Sevill " 

took alarm at once, and large 

numrjers of them fled from the city to the shelter of 
some of the neighbouring great nobles, who looked 
with dislike at this new development of priestly power. 
A decree of the sovereign's at once forbade all loyal 
subjects to withhold suspected heretics from their 
accusers, and those fugitive Jews who could escape 
sought the safety of Moorish Granada. In the first 
days of 1481, the Inquisition got to work, striking at 
the highest first, and before the end of the year 2000 
poor wretches were burnt in Andalusia alone. 2 All 
Spain protested against^ it. Deputations from the chief 
to^wris^came and demanded the abolition of a foreign 
tribunal over Spaniards. The Aragonese, rough and 
independent as usual, resorted to violence, and hunted 
the Inquisitors, whilst in Old Castile the tribunal could 
only sit, in many places, surrounded by the Queen's 
soldiers. But Isabel's heart was aflame with zeal, and 
Ferdinand, with gaping coffers, was rejoicing at the 

1 Father Florez claims for Isabel and Torquemada alone what he con- 
siders the great honour of establishing the Inquisition. 

2 In the first eight years of its existence, the Inquisition burnt in Seville 
alone 700 people, and sent to perpetual imprisonment in the dungeons 
5000 more, confiscating all their goods. Bernaldez. 


showers of Jewish gold that flowed to him ; and all 
remonstrance was in vain. The Pope himself soon 
took fright at the severity exercised, and threatened to 
withdraw the bull, but Ferdinand silenced him with a 
hint that he would make the Inquisition an independent 
tribunal altqgether, as later it practically became, and 
thenceforward the horrible business went on unchecked 
until Spairt was seared from end to end, and inde- 
pendent judgment was stifled for centuries in blood 
and sacrificial smoke. 

The heartless bigot Tot^uemada^IsabgTs confessor, 
wjis jj^ppoi n ted, In^4J4^oj-Generalin 1483, and he, the 

man, in Spain, 

became the,, greatest power in the land, master of 
I sabers conscience and feedej* of Ferdinand's 

Isabel's Spanish biographers continue to assert that she 
was tireless in her endeavours to soften the rigour of 
her own tribunal, and to intercede for her ' dear Cas- 
tilians.' There is not a scrap of real evidence known 
to prove that she did so, and certainly her contempor- 
aries did not believe it. 1 Her administration, how- 
ever, had already been extremely successful. Peace 
and order reigned, the _pride of Spaniards, which she 
so sedulously fostered, had-. been -worked up to a high 
pitch, the Queen herself was personally popular, in con : 
sequence of her dignity, Jier activity, and her patriotism ; 
and the urban populations, who had so greatly aided 
her, and were now so powerful, dreaded to cause dis- 
turbance that might have thrown the country again 
into the clutches of the nobles. Terrible, therefore, as 

1 Shortly after her death, the mayor of her own city of Medina del 
Campo declared that the soul of Isabel had gone to hell for her cruel 
oppression of her subjects, and that all the people around Valladolid and 
Medina, where she was best known, were of the same opinion. Spanish 
State Papers, Supplement to vols. i. and ii. 



was the action of the Holy Office, acquiesced in by the 
Queen, there were many reasons why no combined 
opposition to it in Castile was offered, although for the 
first years of its existence it was bitterly hated. 

To the Queen during these first few years of cease- 
less activity, no other child had been born but the 
IirfantaJLsabel, the first fruit of her marriage in 1470. 
The constant long journeys on horseback, the hard- 
ships and risk entailed by her work, thus for eight 
years prevented the birth of a male heir. But during 
Isabel's stay at Seville, on the 3Oth June 1478, the 
prayed for Prince of Asturias, Juan, was born. Fer- 
dinand was away in the north at the time, but all the 
pomp and splendour, which Isabel knew so well how 
to use, heralded the birth of the Prince. On the i5th 
July the Queen was sufficiently well to ride in state to 
the cathedral from the Moorish Alcazar where she 
lived, and to present her first-born son to the Church. 
Through the narrow, tortuous lanes of the sunny city, 
packed with people, Isabel rode on a bay charger ; her 
crimson brocade robe, all stiff with gold embroidery, 
trailing almost to the ground, over the petticoat covered 
with rich pearls. Her saddle, we are told, was of gold, 
and the housings black velvet, with bullion lace and 
fringe. Ferdinand's base brother Alfonso, and his 
kinswoman the Duchess of Vistahermosa, followed 
close behind, and the Queen's bridle was held by the 
Constable of Castile and Count Benavente. The 
merry music of fife, tabor, and clarion preceded the 
royal party ; and behind there came on foot the nobles 
and grandees, and the authorities of the city. The 
baby Prince was borne in the arms of his nurse, seated 
upon a mule draped with velvet, and embroidered with 
the scutcheons of Castile, Leon, and Aragon, and led 


by the Admiral of Castile. At the high altar of the 
famous Mudejar Cathedral, Isabel solemnly devoted 
her child to the service of God, and then, with splendid 
largess to all and sundry, she returned to the palace. 1 

Isabel was unremitting always in the performance of 
her religious duties, and wherever she stayed, endow- 
ments for purposes of the Church commemorated her 
visit. Her humility and submission to priests and 
nuns is cited with extravagant praise by her many 
ecclesiastical eulogists, and they tell the story of how, 
when Father Talavera first succeeded Torquemada as 
her confessor, he bade her kneel at his feet like an 
ordinary penitent. When she reminded him that 
monarchs always sat by the side of the confessor, as 
she had always done before, he rebuked her by saying 
that his seat was the seat of God, before whom all 
kneeled without distinction ; and the Queen thence- 
forward kept upon her knees before the priest, whom 
she honoured thenceforward for what in our days we 
should consider unpardonable arrogance. 

There was little of repose for Isabel, even after the 
birth of her child. To Seville came the news a few 
months afterwards that the old soldier Archbishop of 
Toledo and the Pachecos had once more persuaded 
Alfonso of Portugal to strike a blow for his niece and 
wife the Beltraneja. Raising what troops she could, 
Isabel rode through Estremadura at the head of her 
force, determined to end for good claims that she 
thought had already been disposed of. Ferdinand was 
in Aragon, where, his father having just died, his 
presence could not be dispensed with ; but Isabel was 
undismayed. In vain her councillors begged her to 
refrain from undertaking tb< campaign in person. The 

1 Florez, ( Reinas Catolictk' '^ 


country was devastated by famine and war, they said ; 
pestilence prevailed in the towns, and the raids of the 
Portuguese and rebels would expose her to great 
danger. 'I did not come hither,' Isabel replied, 'to 
shirk danger and trouble, nor do I intend to give my 
enemies the satisfaction, nor my subjects the chagrin, 
to see me do so, until we end the war we are engaged 
upon or make the peace we seek.' 1 Isabel, in command 
of the Castilians, finally crushed the Portuguese at the 
battle jrf^Albuera ; and then, after reducing to sub- 
mission the rebel noble fortresses, she negotiated a 
peace ^with Portugal and France at Alcantara, by 
wrnch both powers were compelled to recognise her as 
Queen of Spain. Suppressing revolt, deciding dis- 
putes, and punishing trangressions on her way, Isabel 
then rode to Toledo, where Ferdinand joined her, and 
there her third child, Joan, was born, in November 

1 Pulgar. ' Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos.' 


CASTILE and Aragon, now being indissolubly united, 
and internal peace secured, it was time for the sove- 
reigns to prepare for the execution of the great designs 
that had respectively moved them to effect what they 
had done. These designs were to some extent diver- 
gent from each other. Ferdinand's main object was 
to cripple his rival, France, in the direction of Italy, 
and assume for Aragon the hegemony of the Mediter- 
ranean and of the sister Peninsula, of which Sicily 
already belonged to him and Naples to a member of 
his house. Castile, on the other hand, had for cen- 
turies cultivated usually harmonious relations with 
France, the frontiers not being conterminous except 
at one point, the mouth of the Bidasoa ; and the 
ambitions of Castile were traditionally towards the 
absorption of Portugal, the domination of the coast of 
North Africa, and the spread of the Christian power 
generally to the detriment of Islam, its secular enemy. 
Its own Moorish populations were as yet but imper- 
fectly assimilated, and the existence of the realm of 
Granada in the Peninsula kept hopes alive in the 
breasts of the Castilian Moors. The presence of 
many thousands of potential enemies in the midst of 
Christian Spain, and the wealth and number of the 
Jews, who, in a struggle, would probably side with 
the Moors, undoubtedly influenced greatly in causing 
the severity of the Inquisition against them and their 
subsequent expulsion. The first step, therefore, to be 


taken towards the objects either of Aragon and Castile, 
was to reduce to impotence any Moorish power in 
Spain itself that might cause anxiety to the Christian 
rulers whilst they were busy upon plans abroad, though 
this step was mainly important to Castile rather than 
to Aragon. 

This was the state of affairs in the beginning of 
1481. The Castilians were subdued and prepared to 
do the bidding of their Queen, but the Catalans and 
Aragonese, rough and independent, had to be conciliated 
before they could be depended upon to give their aid 
to an object apparently for the advantage of Castile. 
Isabel had summoned a Cortes of her realms to the 
imperial city of Toledo late in 1480, to take the oath 
of allegiance to her infant son Juan as heir to the 
throne : and thence, with a splendid train, she rode to 
visit for the first time her husband's kingdoms, to re- 
ceive their homage as joint sovereign. Ferdinand 
met his wife at Calatayud in April 1481, and there, 
before the assembled Cortes of Aragon, the oath of 
allegiance to the sovereigns and their heir was taken. 
The Aragonese were rough-tongued and jealous, and 
even more so the Catalans, dreading the centralising 
policy of Isabel and their assimilation by Castile ; and 
throughout Ferdinand's dominions Isabel was forced to 
hear demands and criticisms to which the more amen- 
able Cortes of Castile had not accustomed her. It 
was gall and wormwood to her proud spirit that sub- 
jects should haggle with monarchs, and in Barcelona 
she turned to her husband, when the Cortes had refused 
one of his requests, and said : ' This realm is not ours, 
we shall have to come and conquer it.' But Ferdi- 
nand knew his subjects better than she, and gradually 
made them understand that in all he did he had their 


interests in view. He was forced, indeed, by circum- 
stances and his wife to allow precedence to Castilian 
aims, the better to compass those of Aragon. 

The turbulent Valencians were being won to be- 
nevolence by the presence of their King and the smiles 
of his wife in the last days of 1481, when the news 
reached the sovereigns that the pretext they needed 
for their next great step had been furnished by the 
Moors of Granada. From the fairy palace of the 
Alhambra for the previous two hundred and fifty 
years, the Kings of Granada had ruled a territory in the 
South of Andalucia, running from fifteen miles north of 
Gibraltar along the Mediterranean coast two hundred 
and twenty miles to the borders of Murcia, and in- 
cluding the fine ports of Malaga, Velez, and Almeria. 
The industry of the people and the commerce of their 
important seaboard, facing the African land of their 
kinsmen, made the population prosperous and their 
standard of living high ; but a series of petty despots, 
successively reaching the throne by usurpation and 
murder, had enabled the Kings of Castile, by foment- 
ing the consequent discord, to_ reduce Granada to the 
position of a tributary. When Isabel succeeded, and 
the treaties between Castile and Granada had to be 
renewed in 1476, Ferdinand had demanded the prompt 
annual payment of the tribute in gold, Muley Abul 
Hassan had paid no tribute to Isabel's brother, and 
intended to pay none to her. ' Tell the Queen and 
King of Castile,' he replied, * that steel and not gold 
is what we coin in Granada.' From the day they 
received the message Isabel and Ferdinand knew that 
they could not wield a solid Spain to their ends until 
the Cross was reared over the Mosque of Granada. 
When, therefore, all the rest of Spain was pacified, and 


the sovereigns were at Valencia at Christmas 1481, 
the pretext for action came, not unwelcome, at least 
for Isabel. The Moors of Granada had swept down 
by night and captured the Christian frontier fortress 
of Zahara. 1 Isabel and her husband had never ceased 
since their accession to prepare for the inevitable war. 
The civil conflict they had passed through had proved 
the superiority for their purpose of paid troops of their 
own over feudal levies, and already the organisation of 
a national army existed. The Royal Council appointed 
by Isabel had brought from France, Italy, and Germany 
the best skilled engineers and constructors of the 
recently introduced iron artillery ; great quantities of 
gunpowder had been imported~from Sicily, and im- 
proved lances, swords, and crossbows had been invented 
and manufactured in Italy and Spain. 

The troops that had been expelled from Zahara, and 
those that at first revenged the insult by the capture 
and sack of the important Moorish fortress of Alhama, 
between Malaga and Granada, were the vassals of the 
princely Andalucian nobles, the Duke of Medina 
Sidonia and the Marquis of Cadiz ; but the sove- 
reigns, hurrying from Valencia to the Castilian town 
of Medina del Campo, set about organising the coming 
war with national forces. The efficiency and fore- 
sight shown were extraordinary, and, up to that time, 
unexampled. Nothing seems to have been forgotten 
or left to chance ; flying hospitals, field ambulances, 
and army chaplains, testify to Isabel's personal in- 
fluence. Whatever may have been the case with 
Ferdinand, his wife approached the struggle as to a 

1 The Moors justified the attack by the accusation that the famous 
Ponce de Leon, Marquis of Cadiz, had raided and plundered the town of 
Mercadillo, near Ronda. 


sacred crusade. Torquemada, though not yet Inquisitor 
General, was busy with the Holy Office, and had just 
been replaced as Isabel's confessor by the saintly 
Father Talavera, whose influence over the Queen 
was greater still ; and whose zeal for the conquest of 
Granada for the cross was a consuming passion, only 
comparable in its strength with his proud humility. 1 

The kingdom of Granada was girt around with 
mountain fortresses of immense strength upon the 
spurs and peaks of the Sierra Nevada ; and in the 
midst stood the lovely city, as it stands to-day, with its 
twin fortresses upon their sister cliffs, the Alhambra 
and the Albaycin, each capable of housing an army. 
The task of reducing the mountain realm was a great 
one, for the outlying fortresses^ had to be subdued^ 
separately bejm^_tl^e_almos^ jmpregnable capital could 
be_attacked, whilst the long line of coast had^ to be 
watchje^and_blockaded to ^prevent, if possible, succour 
being sent from Africa by_Jdnsinen_^Lcross tEe~sea. 
In"^flieTi^~dFys~"ofTlarch 1482, the news of the 
capture of Alhama by the Andalucian nobles, and the 
awful slaughterof the women and children, as well as 
the men, who so heroically defended it, reached Isabel 
at Medina ; and the splendid exploit and vast booty 
won uplifted all Castilian hearts. It is said by many 
historians, but is not true, that Isabel herself set out 
barefooted on a pilgrimage to Compostella, to thank 
Santiago for the victory. But though she had no time 
for this, she bade the Church throughout Castile sing 
praises for the boon vouchsafed to the Christian cause. 

1 When somewhat later the Queen urgently begged him to accept the 
bishopric of Salamanca, and he persistently refused, she reproached him 
for not obeying her once when she had obeyed him so many times. ' I 
will not be the bishop,' he replied, 'of any place but Granada.' He was 
in effect the first archbishop. 


But then came tidings less bright. The Moorish 
King, with all his force of 80,000 men, was besieging 
the Marquis of Cadiz in Alhama : the water supply 
had been cut off, food was scarce, and the Christians 
surrounded. Within a week of the news Ferdinand 
was on the march with his army, and the Duke of 
Medina Sidonia, with his 40,000 armed retainers, was 
rapidly approaching Alhama to succour his ancient foe 
the Marquis of Cadiz. The slaughter of Moors in the 
constant unsuccessful assaults upon Alhama had been 
immense ; the King, Muley Abul Hassan, had bitter 
domestic enemies, and daring not to face the approach- 
ing Christians, he raised the siege and returned to 
Granada. The rich booty taken in the town by the 
original captors aroused the cupidity of the relieving 
force, and dissensions between the Christians arose 
over the division of the spoil. Medina Sidonia and 
his army marched away, and again Muley Abul 
Hassan beleaguered Alhama, with artillery this time, 
and a powerful army. Once more deeds of unheard 
of gallantry and hardihood were done by the Moorish 
chivalry ; but, as before, unavailingly. By the end of 
March Ferdinand's great host, with 40,000 beasts of 
burden carrying supplies and munitions, approached, 
and again Muley Abul Hassan retreated to his dis- 
affected capital. It was a blow from which the 
Moorish power in Spain never recovered, and thence- 
forwardjGranada fought_hopelessly with her back to 
tne walIT~ 

Into the fertile vega of Granada swept Ferdinand's 
host in the midsummer of 1482, carrying devastation 
and ruin in its van. From the heights of Granada the 
Moors, with impotent hate and rage, saw their blazing 
villages, their raided flocks and herds, their murdered 


countrymen, and desolated fields ; and yet within the 
fair city treason and civil discord numbed all hearts, 
and paralysed the warrior's arms. For Muley Abul 
Hassan was fighting foes within hjs_own Harem more 
deadly than the Christians who raided beneath his 
walls ; and a palace revolution led by his wife and his 
un3utiful ""son, 7fbu"Abdaila (Boabdil), was already 
pIoUmgTTnr^ in the 

vega of Granada, it was necessary for Ferdinand to 
capture the frowning fortress that crowned the height 
of Loja, and commanded the pass into Castile. It 
ha3 long been a thorn in the Christian flesh, and now 
Ferdinand, with all the chivalry of Spain, were 
pledged to capture it at any cost. Though brave 
and cool, Ferdinand was no great tactician, and was 
easjly^utwitted ^y the wily Moors, who led his forces 
into ambush and utterly routed the Christian host. 
Panic ancT flight ensued, with the loss of baggage, 
standards, and arms ; and Ferdinand himself escaped 
only by the efforts of a small devoted band of Castilian 
knights. The ruin was complete, and when Ferdinand 
joined his heroic wife at the ancient Moorish Alcazar of 
Cordova, even her faith and steadfastness for a time 

But not for long. Talavera, Torquemada, and 
Mendoza, the Cardinal of Spain, with fiery zeal for 
the extirpation of heresy, were at her side. Not for 
territory alone, but to fix God's realm on earth freely, 
must sacrifice be made and final victory won : and, 
though Ferdinand with longing eyes towards his own 
aims, yearned to use his arms against France for the 
recapture of his own provinces of Rosellon and 
Cerdagne, and tried to persuade his wife that though 
1 her war might be a holy one, his against the French 


would be a just one,' Isabel had her way, and with 
unflinching zeal set about organising to snatch con- 
quest from defeat. 1 Muley Abul Hassan, expelled 
from his city of Granada, but holding his own in 
Malaga and the south, had been succeeded in his 
capital by the weak, rebellious Boabdil. The old 
King and his brother, El Zagal, were still fighting 
doughtily, and even successfully raiding the Christian 
land near Gibraltar ; and Boabdil, jealous of their 
activity, determined to sally from Granada and strike 
a blow for his cause, at the instigation of his masculine 
mother. At the head of 9000 Moors, _all glittering 
and confident, iTieTPrince sallied out of Granada in 
April 1483, and, collecting the veteran guard of Loja 
on the way, marched towards Cordova. The Moors 
were undisci^nedTToade^witTfToot, and led by a fool, 
when they approached the Christian Cordovese city of 
Lucena, and their ostentatious march into Christian 
land had been heralded. Their attack upon the city 
was repulsed with great valour, and whilst they were 
mecfitating a^eliew^eii~~asaulti a relieving force of 
Christians approached. The Moors retired, but were 
O3Lej-teken__and utterly routed. Boabdil the King, 
garbed in crimson veTveTniantle heavy with gold, and 
armed in rich damascened steel, was singled out from 
amongst the mob of fugitives, c^pti^e^_byaCastilian 
and borne in triumph by the Christian 

chief, the Count of Cabra, to the strong castle of 
Porcuna, there to await the sovereign's decision as to 
his fate. Isabel and her husband were far away at the 
time; for, after the birth of her fourth child, Maria, in 
the previous summer of 1482, she and Ferdinand had 
travelled north to Madrid to meet the Castilian Cortes, 

1 Pulgar, ' Cronica de los Reyes Catolicos.' 


and ask for supplies for carrying on the war. Thence, 
on a more questionable errand, they had moved further 
north. The little mountain realm of Navarre on the 
Pyrenees, a buffer state between Castile and France, 
belonged to the descendants of Ferdinand's father by 
his first wife. The desire^ _of_ the Aragonese King to 
unite Navarre to Ferdinand's kingdoms, had removed 
by murdeFbne Na;v^rese"s^v^r^igTrafter Another, until 
now, in 1482, the beautiful young half French Francis 
Phcebus was King. He was one more obstacle to be 
removed ; for after him a sister would come to the 
throne, and she might be easily dealt with : so poison 
ended the budding life of Francis Phcebus by 
FefcTThand's orders, TFwasT credibly said at the time ; I 
and Ferdinand and his wife hurried up to Vitoria, 
bent, if possible, upon adding one more crown to the 
brows of the Queen of Castile. 2 It was a cynically 
clever move of Ferdinand's, for it would bring Castile 
in touch with France, and thus play into the hands of 
the Aragonese, but jjie threatening attitude of Louis 
xi. convinced Ferdinand that he must wait for a more 
fitting opportunity, which he did for thirty years, when 
Isabel had long been dead. When the news came to 
Tarazona, where the Cortes of Aragon were in session, 
that Boabdil was captured, Ferdinand hurried south to 
Cordova to reap the fruits of victory, leaving Isabel in 

In the great hall of the Alcazar of Cordova, 
Ferdinand sat in council in August 1483, surrounded 
by the soldiers who in his absence had overrun the 
vega, and two Moorish embassies claimed audience. 
One came from the old King, Muley Abul Hassan, in 

1 Lagre"ze. See also Zurita's ' Anales de Aragon. 

2 Florez, Reinas Catolicos.' 


Malaga, begging with heavy bribes the surrender of 
his rebellious son Boabdil. This embassy Ferdinand 
refused to receive ; but the other from the Queen 
Zoraya, Boabdil's mother, with offers of ransom, sub- 
mission, and obedience, was admitted. Ferdinand was 
the craftiest man of his age, and saw that the imprison- 
ment of Boa^n_gave_unity to the Granadan Moors, 
whilst his presence amongst them would again be the 
sigiiaTTorTratricidal conflict. But the King of Aragon 
ttFove a^a7iTrJa1rgaTrias he always did, and the foolish, 
vain Boabdil only bought his liberty at a heavy price. 
He was to do homage to the Christian kings, to pay a 
heavy ransom and yearly tribute, and give passage to 
the Christian armies to conquer his father in Malaga. 
Boabdil meekly subscribed to any terms, and then 
paying homage ~orT~Bended knee to his master, he 
wended his way to Moorish land, a mark for the scorn 
of all men, ' Boabdil the Little ' for the rest of time. 

Anarchy thenceforward reigned^ through the kingdom 
of^nmaj^a,~2LS Ferdinand had foreseen. I shall pluck 
the pomegranate, seed by seed, chuckled the Christian 
king. And so he did ; for, although a two years' 
truce had been settled with Boabdil, the civil war 
gave to the Christian borderers constant opportunities 
of overrunning the land, on the pretext of aiding or 
avenging one of the combatants and attacking the 
old King. Ferdinand would fain have attacked the 
new King of France, Charles VIIL, but Isabel was 
firm ; and though Ferdinand was thereafter obliged 
to stay a time in his own dominions to placate the 
discontented Catalans, Isabel was tireless in her in- 
sistence upon the Christian crusade that she had 
undertaken, though, for appearance sake, she con- 
sented to both wars being carried on at the same 


time, which she knew was impracticable. 1 The spirit 
qf_the woman was indomitable. Travelling south 
towards the seat of war in 1484 with the new Arch- 
bisjiop of Toledo, Cardinal Mendoza, she herself took 
command of the campaign against the Moor. 

It was, verily, her own war. In counsel with - 
veteran soldiers she surprised them with her boldness 
and knowledge ; and her harangues to the soldiery, 
and care for their welfare, caused her to be idolised 
by men who had never yet regarded a woman as 
being capable of such a stout heart as hers. She 
managed even to spur Ferdinand into leaving Aragon, 
and once more taking the field against the old King 
of Granada, and, one by one, the Moorish fortresses 
fell, and the Christian host encamped almost before 
the walls of Granada : the Queen herself, though 
approaching childbirth (in 1485), travelling from place 
to place in the conquered country, encouraging, super- 
vising, and directing. The following year, 1486, 
Isabel and her husband again trav-eHecL- to Cordova. 
fromTJastiIe 1 ~and now with a greater force than ever 
before. For news of this saintly warrior Queen, who 
WcLS^fighting for the cross, had spread now through"; 
Christendom, and not Iberian knights alone, but the ' 
chivalry of France and Italy, Portugal and England, 
were flocking to share the glory of the struggle. 

At the conquest of Loja in May 1486, Lord Rivers, 
Conde de Escalas, as the Spaniards called him, aided 
greatly with his men in capturing the place, and earned 
the praise of Isabel. 2 As each church was dedicated 
to the true worship in the conquered towns, Isabel 
herself contributed the sacred vessels and vestments 

1 See Perez de Pulgar, ' Reyes Catolicos.' 

2 Florez, ' Reinas Catolicos.' 


necessary for Christian worship ; relics of the saints, 
and blessed banners sent by her, went always with 
the Castilian hosts ; and soon the spiritual pride, 
which had been the secret of all Spain's strength in 
the past, became again the overwhelming obsession, 
which, whilst it strengthened the arms, hardened the 
hearts of all those who owned the sway of Isabel. 

In December 1485, Isabel's last child, Katharine, was 
born at Alcala de Henares, and through most of the 
stirring campaigns of 1486 the Queen accompanied 
the army in their sieges of Moorish towns, and thence 
rode with her husband right across Spain to far 
Santiago, crushing rebellion (that of Count Lemos), 
holding courts of justice, punishing offences and 
rewarding services on the way. The next spring 
again saw her in the field against the important 
maritime city of Velez- Malaga, which was captured 
in April ; and in the autumn the great port of Malaga 
fell after an heroic defence. But heroism of infidels 
aroused no clemency in the breast of the Christian 
Queen. By her husband's side, with cross borne 
before them, and a crowd of shaven ecclesiastics 
around them, they^rode in triumph through the 
deserted city_jto_the mosque, now purified into a 
Christian cathedral. Christian captives in chains were 
dragged from pestilent dungeons that the manacles 
might be struck from their palsied limbs in the victors' 
presence, and when the Christians had given thanks to 
the Lord of Hosts, the whole starving population of 
Malaga were assembled in the great courtyard of the 
fortress, andeverysoul was condemned to slavery 
for_]ife__: some to be sent to Africa in exchange for 
Christian captives ; some to be sold to provide funds 
for the war, some for presents for the Pope and other 


potentates and great nobles, whilst all the valuables 
in the wealthy city were grabbed by greedy Ferdinand, 
by cme of his usually clever and heartless devices. 1 

The want of magnanimity and common humanity 
to these poor people, who had only defended their 
homes against the invader, is usually ascribed entirely 
to Ferdinand ; but there is nothing whatever to show 
that Isabel thought otherwise than he, except that she 
objected to a suggestion that they should all be put 
to the sword. She was a child of her age, an age 
that did not recognise" the Tight of ofHers trTant^ 
orthodox Christians to be regardecTjis human beings ; 
aricT in Isabel all instinctive womanly feeling was 
dominated by her conviction of the greatness of her 
cfuty as she understood it, and the sacred mission of 
her sovereignty. The fall of Malaga rendered inevit- 
able that of the city of Granada, only held, as it was, 
under the nominal rule of the miserable Boabdil, sup- 
ported by the Christian troops under Gonzalo de 
Cordova. Every week his little realm grew smaller, 
and every hour the streets of Granada rang with 
Moslem curses of his name. Outside the walls rapine 
and war, inside treachery and murder, scourged 
Granada ; and whilst the pomegranate was rotting to 
its fall, in the intervals of fresh conquests Isabel and 
her husband progressed through Aragon and Valencia, 
everywhere carrying terror to evildoers and strengthen- 
ing the arm of the Inquisition. Thejriex^year, 1488. 
the_same process was continued, jmdjn 1489 the large 
cities of Baza, Almeria and Guadix were conquered 
from Boabdil's rebel uncle. Baza was the strongest 
fortress in the kingdom, and offered a resistance so 
obstinate that the Christians, despairing of taking it, 

1 Bernaldez, ' Reyes Catolicos,' and Bleda's ' Cronica.' 


sent to Isabel at Jaen, asking her permission to raise 
the siege. She commanded them to redouble their 
efforts. Fresh men, money and munitions were sent 
to them. The Dukes ~oF~Arba and Najera, and the 
Admiral of Castile, were bidden to lead their men to 
aid Ferdinand before Baza. New field hospitals were 
supplied, and all the MancHa and Andalucia were 
swept for food and transport, no less than 14,000 
mules, for the relief of the besiegers. Floods broke 
down the bridges and made the roads impassable, but 
still I sabeTHi^ not loseTTieart. A body of 6000 men 
were raised to repair the ways. The cost exhausted 
the Queen's treasury, but she laid hands on the church 
plate and the treasures of the convents, pledged her 
own crown with the Jews to overcome the obstacle, 
and raised a hundred million maravedis for her pur- 
pose. Her ladies followed her example and poured 
^^^^l^a^^^^^intQj^L^o^^, and yet Baza 
still held out, and winterwas close atjhand. Ferdinand 
ISalid^ the stout-hearted 

Queen herself set out from Jaen in November, and 
rode undaunted through the bitter weather, night and 
day, to join her troops at Baza. Her presence struck 
the Moors with dismay, and filled the Christian hearts 
with confidence, for both knew that there she would 
stay, at any cost, ujitil_lbe..4)lae^surrendered, as it 
did, to her, on jhe_4th December 1489,* whereupon 
Airfferia ancTGuadix gave up~Tfre" "struggle, and the 

1 The chroniclers of the siege dilate much upon the magnificent appear- 
ance of Isabel and her great train of ladies when, on the day of her arrival 
before Baza, she reviewed her troops in full view of the dumbfoundered 
Moors on the ramparts of the fortress. Her own Castilian troops, frantic 
with enthusiasm, no longer cried ' Long live the Queen/ but * Long live 
our King Isabel.' Florez, ' Reinas Catolicos,' and Letters of Peter Martyr, 
who was present. 


Queen and her husband returned to winter at Seville, 
knowing now that Granada itself was theirs for the 
plucking when the season should arrive. 

All through the year 1490 the preparations for the 
crowning feat went on throughout Castile. Patriotism, 
ifrthe sense of a commcnr prrcte~~of Territory, did not 
exist in Spain ; but already in the nine years that 
the Inquisition had been at work, and Isabel's fiery 
zeal against the Moors had continued, the spiritual 
arrogance, always latent, had knit orthodox Spaniards 
together as they had never been bound before. To 
the majority, the persecution of a despised and hated 
minority was confirmation of their own mystic selection. 
Isabel was the personification of the feeling^ and to 
her, as to her people now, the oppression of the 
unbeliever was an act that singled her out as the 
chosen of God to vindicate His faith. So JTprguemada 
and_the . Jjiquisition, with the approval of the Queen, 
harried the wretched Jews, who professed Christianity, 
more cruelly every day. 1 If a ' New Christian' broke 
bread with a JewTFwas the former who was punished. 
If he dared to wear clean linen on Saturday, or used 
a Hebrew name, the Dominican spies, who dogged 
his footsteps, accused him, and the flames consumed 
his carcass whilst Ferdinand emptied his coffers. The 
revenue of the Jewish confiscations had provided much 
of the treasure needed for the constant war of the last 
eight years ; but Ferdinand wanted more, and ever 
more, money before Granada could be made into a 
Christian city. Isabel would conquer Granada, and 
at any cost gain the undying glory of recovering for 
Christ the last spot in Spain held by the infidel. 

1 The professed Christian Jews were much more severely dealt with 
than the unbaptised. 


^Injustice, cruelty, robbery, and the torture of innocent 
people were nothing, less than nothing, to the end 
she aimed at ; and_when the flames were found all 
too slow for feeding Ferdinand's greed, Isabel easily 
consented to a blow^being struck at the unbaptised 
Jews, in 1T~body7"whenever it was necessary to collect 
aT~specially large sum of money for /ierwa.r. 

TrTAprir 1 49 f, the siege of the lovelyl:ity, set in its 
vast garden plain, was begun. The Moors inside were 
gallant and chivalrous, determined to sell their city 
dearly, however their spiritless King might deport 
himself; but their dashing cavalry sallies where almost 
futile against an army so carefully organised and 
disciplined as that of Isabel. The head quarters of 
the Christian Queen were about two leagues from 
Granada, and when Isabel joined her army the siege 
opened in grim earnest. The many contemporary 
chroniclers of the campaign have left us astonishing 
descriptions of the dazzling splendour which surrounded 
the Queen. She, who in the privacy of her palace 
was sober in her attire, and devoted to housewifely 
duties, could, when she thought desirable, as she did 
before Granada, present an appearance of sumptuous 
spendour almost unexampled. Her encampment, with 
its silken tents magnificently furnished, its floating 
banners and soaring crosses, were such as had never 
been since the time of the Crusades. On a white 
Arab charger, with floating mane and velvet trappings 
to the ground, the Queen, herself dressed in damascened 
armour and regal crimson, was everywhere animating, 
consoling, and directing. Cardinals and bishops, princes, 
nobles and ladies, thronged around her ; and every 
morning as the sun tipped with gold the snow peaks of 
the Sierra, all in that mighty host, from the Queen down 


to the poorest follower, bowed before the gorgeous altar 
in the midst of the camp, whilst the Cardinal of Spain 
(Mendoza) performed the sacred mystery of the mass. 
One night in the summer (i4th July) the Queen 
had retired to her tent and was sleeping, when, two 
hours after midnight, a lamp by her bedside caught 
the hangings, stirred by the breeze, and in a minute 
the great pavilion was ablaze. Isabel in her night garb 
had barely time to escape, and witnessed the con- 
flagration spread from tent to tent till much of the 

At the cries and 

bugle calls of the distressed Christians, the Moors afar 
off on the walls beheld with joy the discomfiture of 
their enemies ; and if another leader than Boabdil had 
been in command, it would have gone ill with Isabel 
and her men. But there was no defeat for a woman 
with such a spirit as hers. The suggestions that the 
siege should be raised until the next year, she rejected 
in scorn. Once again her virile spirit had its way. 
More money^ was raise_cLjnQstly; squeezed out of the 
miserablejews ; the army was quartered in neigh- 
bouring villages, and within eighty days a city of 
masonry and__brick replaced the canvas encampment, 
and here, mjhe city of Santa Fe, I Isabel solemnly swore 
to stay, winter and summer, until the city of Granada 
should surrender to her. 

off from thp_jgnr1H. __Thp 

cnas^owns_ were no longer in Moorish hands, and no 

1 Perez de Hita (Historia de los Vandos) recounts that the city of Santa 
Fe sprang from a marvellous edifice which four grandees caused to be 
constructed in a single night. It consisted of four buildings of wood 
covered with painted canvas to imitate stone, and surrounded by a battle- 
mented wall of a similar construction. Roadways in the form of a cross 
divided the four blocks with a gate at each of the four extremities. The 
Moors, on seeing what they thought was a strong fortress raised so rapidly, 
thought that witchcraft had been at work, and were utterly cast down. 


succour from Africa could come to the unhappy Boabdil. 
The desperate warriors of the crescent were for sallying 
en masse and dying or conquering, once for all ; but 
Boabdil was weak and incapable ; and less than a month 
after the completion of Isabel's new city of Santa Fe, 
he made secret advances to his enemy at his gates for 
a capitulation. The Queen entrusted the greatest of 
her captains, Gonzalo de Cordova, who understood 
Arabic, with the task of negotiation ; but soon the news 
was whispered inside the city, and twenty thousand 
furious Moorish warriors rushed up the steep hill to the 
Alhambra, to demand a denial from the King. Seated in 
the glittering hall of the ambassadors, Boabdil received 
the spokesmen of his indignant people, and pointed 
out to them with the eloquence of despair the hopeless- 
ness of the situation ; and the wisdom of making terms 
whilst they might. Stupefied and grief-stricken the 
populace acknowledged the truth, bitter as it was, and 
with bowed heads and coursing tears left the beautiful 
palace that was so soon to pass from them. 

The negotiations were protracted, for Granada was 
divided and might still have held out, and the Moors 
be~gge3Thard for at least some vestige of independence 
as a State. But at last, on the 28th November 1491, 
thg_conditions were^agreed Ux The Granadan Moors 
were to enjoy full liberty for their faith, language, laws 
and customs ; their possessions ancT property were to 

desire to owe 
were to. .be aided to 

emigrate to Africa. The tribute to be paid was the 
same as that rendered to the Moorish King, and the 
city was to be free from other taxation for three years ; 
whilst Boabdil was to have a tiny tributary kingdom 
(Purchena) of his own in the savage fastnesses of the 


Alpujarra mountains, looking down upon the splendid 
heritage that had been his. The terms were generous 
to a beaten foe, and their gentleness is usually ascribed 
to Isabel. Since, however, they were afterwards all 
violated with ' her full consent, it matters little whether 
the Queen or her husband drafted them. But mild as 
the~conditions of surrender were, many of the heart- 
broken Moors of the city were still for fighting to the 
death in defence of the land of their fathers and their 
faith ; and Boabdil, in deadly fear for his life, begged 
the visitors to hasten the taking possession of the city. 
On the last day but one of the year 1491, the Christian 
men-at-arms entered the Alhambra ; and on the 2nd 
January 1492, a splendid cavalcade went forth from the 
besieging city of Santa Fe to crown the work of Isabel 
the Catholic. Surrounded by all the nobles and chivalry 
of Castile and Aragon, the Queen, upon a splendid 
white charger, rode by her husband's side, followed by 
the flower of the victorious army. Upon a hill hard 
by the walls of the city, Isabel paused and gazed upon 
the towers and minarets, and upon the two fortresses 
that crowned the sister heights, for which her heart 
had yearned. This must have seemed to her the most 
glorious moment of her life : for the last stronghold 
of Islam was within her grasp ; and well she must have 
known that, capitulations notwithstanding, but a few 
short years would pass before the worship of the false 
prophet would disappear from the land where it had 
prevailed so long. 

At a signal the gates of the city opened, and a mourn- 
ful procession came towards the royal group upon the 
rise. Mounted upon a black barb came Boabdil the 
Little, dusky of skin, with sad, weeping eyes downcast. 
His floating haik of snowy white half veiled a tunic of 


the sacred green, covered with barbaric golden orna- 
ments. As he approached the group upon the mound, 
the conquered King made as if to dismount, and kneel 
to kiss the feet of the Queen and her husband. But 
Ferdinand, with diplomatic chivalry, forbade the last 
humiliation, and took the massive keys of the fortress, 
whilst Boabdil, bending low in his saddle, kissed the 
sleeve of the King as he passed the keys to the Queen, 
who handed them to her son, and then to the Count of 
Tendilla, the new governor of the city. Four days 
later, Granada was swept and garnished, purified with 
holy water, ready for the entry of the Christian 
Sovereigns. 1 The steep, narrow lane leading to the 
Alhambra from the Gate of Triumph was lined by 
Christian troops, and only a few dark-skinned Moors 
scowled from dusky jalousies high in the walls, as the 
gallant chivalry of Castile, Leon, and Aragon, flashed 
and jingled after the King and Queen. As they 
approached the Alhambra, upon the tower of Comares 
there broke the banner of the Spanish Kings fluttering 
in the breeze, and at the same moment, upon the 
summit of the tower above the flag, there rose a great 
gilded cross, the symbol of the faith triumphant. 

Then, at the gates, the heralds cried aloud, * Granada ! 
Granada! for the Kings Isabel and Ferdinand;' and 
Isabel, dismounting from her charger, as the cross 
above glittered in the sun, knelt upon the ground in all 
her splendour, and thanked her God for the victory. 
The choristers intoned Christian praise in the purified 
mosque, whilst the Moors, who hoped to live in favour 
of the victors, led by the renegade Muza, added the 
strange music of their race to the thousand instruments 

1 The title ' Catholic ' was formally conferred upon them by the Pope 
after the taking of Granada. 


and voices that acclaimed the new Queen of Granada. 
Amidst the rejoicing and illuminations that kept the 
city awake that night, Boabdil the beaten was forgotten, 
When he had delivered the keys of the Alhambra, he 
had refused to be treated by his followers any longer 
with royal honours, and had retired weeping to the 
citadel, soon to steal forth with a few followers and 
his masculine mother to the temporary shelter of his 
little principality. 1 When the sad cavalcade came to 
the hill called Padul, ' The last sigh of the Moor,' 
thenceforward tears coursed down the bronze cheeks 
of the King as he gazed upon the lost kingdom he was 
to see no more. * Weep ! weep ! ' cried his mother, 
' weep ! like a woman for the city you knew not how to 
defend like a man.' 

Throughout Christendom rang the fame of the great 
Oueen,_whose steadfastness had won so noble a victory ; 
and even in far-off England praise of her, and thanks 
to the Redeemer whose cause she had championed, 
were sung throughout the land. For the conquest of 
Granada marked an epoch, and sealed with permanence 
and finality the Christianisation of Europe, the struggle 
for which had begun eight centuries before, from the 
mountains of Asturias. The imagination of the world 
was touched by the sight of a warrior-crusading Queen, 
more splendid in her surroundings than any woman 
since Cleopatra, who yet was so modest, meek, and 
saintly in the relations of daily life, so exemplary a 
mother, so faithful a wife, 2 so wise a ruler ; and the 

1 He promptly sold this to Isabel, and retired to Fez, where he was 
murdered. The account of the surrender is mainly taken from Perez de 
Hita's ' Historia de los Vandos,' 1610, and Perez de Pulgar's ' Cronica.' 

' 2 She is said never to have allowed Ferdinand to wear a shirt except 
those that she herself made for him. Navarro Rodrigo, l El Cardinal 


cautious, unemotional Ferdinand.,_whose ..... ability as a 
statesman was even greater than^ that of his wife, was 
ov.ersJiadowe<rT5yl^Ta3i^^ she fought 

fQr_an exaTtecT abstract idea, whils.t~-hjs e^es_were for 
eyj^M:um5^^ himself and 

el t ancLdea to pleas for 

mercy, becajjse^^Here^^ 

soencfer^ and false, 

s baser and his objec^a,alllmundane. 
In the ChristIarT~camp Before Granada there had 
wandered a man who was not a warrior, but a patient 
suitor, waiting upon the leisure of the Sovereigns to 
hear his petition. He was a man of lofty stature, with 
light blue eyes that gazed afar away, fair, florid face 
and ruddy hair, already touched with snow by forty 
years of toil and hardship. He had long been a 
standing joke with some of the shallow courtiers and 
churchmen that surrounded the Queen, for he was a 
dreamer of great dreams that few men could under- 
stand, and, worst offence of all, he was a foreigner, a 
Genoese some said. He had followed the Court for 
eight long years in pursuit of his object, the scoff of 
many and the friend of few ; but the war, and the 
strenuous lives that Isabel and Ferdinand lived, had 
again and again caused them to postpone a final 
answer to the prayer of the Italian sailor, who had, to 
suit Spanish lips, turned his name from Cris_to_fhro 

At the_end of 1484^ the man, full of his exalted 

1 The sequence of the movements of Columbus, and several facts and 
dates here given, vary from the current accounts. The narrative here set 
forth has been carefully compiled from the result of much recent Spanish 
research, besides the well-known texts of Navarrete and the superb 
anthology of contemporary information reproduced by Mr Thatcher in 
his exhaustive three volumes lately published. I have also depended 


visions, had sailed from Lisbon, disgusted at the perfidy^ 
^fjthe ^Portuguese, who had feigned to entertain his 
proposals^onlylo" try to cheat him of the realisation of 
them. His intention was first to sail to Huelva in 
Spain, where he had relatives, and to leave with them 
his child Diego, who accompanied him, whilst he him- 
self would proceed tojVance, and lay his plans before 
the new King, Charles vm. Instead of reaching 
Huelva, his pinnace was driven for some reason 
to anchoj^jn_-the -..little._port__of Palos, on the other 
side of the delta, and thence the mariner and his boy 
wended their way to the neighbouring Franciscan 
Monastery of St. Maria de la Rabida, to seek shelter 
and food, at least for the child. Colon, as we shall call 
him here, was an exalted religious mystic, full of a great 
devotional scheme, and himself, in after years, wore a 
habit of St. Francis. It was natural, therefore, that he 
should be well received by the brothers in that lonely 
retreat overlooking the delta of the Rio Tinto ; for he 
was, in addition to his devotion, a man of wide know- 
ledge of the world as well as of science and books, and 
in the monastery there was an enlightened ecclesiastic 
who had known courts and cities, one Friar J^u an 
Perez, who had once been a confessor of Queen Isabel 
With him and the physician of the monastery, Garcia 
Hernandez, Colon discussed cosmogony, and inter- 
ested them in his theories, and the aims that led him 
on his voyage. The mariner needed but little material 
aid, two or three small ships, which could easily have 
been provided for him by private enterprise. But his 
plans were far reaching, and well he knew that to be 

much upon Rodriguez Pinilla's ' Colon en Espana,' Cappa's * Colon y los 
Espanoles,' and Ibarra y Rodriguez's ' Fernando el Catolico y el Descubri- 
miento de America/ etc. etc. 


able to carry them out, the lands he dreamed of dis- 
covering could only produce for him the means to 
attain the result he hungered for, if a powerful sovereign 
would hold and use them when he had found them. 1 

There was a great magnate within a few days' 
journey of the monastery, who himself was almost a 
sovereign, and not only had ships in plenty of his own, 
but could, if he pleased, obtain for any plan he accepted 
the patronage of powerful sovereigns. This was the 
head of the Guzmans, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, 
the Andalucian noble who controlled the port of Seville 
and the coasts of the south. It must have seemed 
worth while to Colon to address himself to this neigh- 
bouring noble before setting out on his long voyage to 
France ; for he journeyed from La Rabida towards 
Seville, leaving his child, Diego, to be educated and 
cared for by the friars of the monastery. He found the 
Duke of Medina Sidonia irresponsive to his approaches, 
and was again thinking of taking ship to France, when 
he was brought into contact, by what means is not 
known, with another great noble almost as powerful as 
the head of the Guzmans, the Duke of Medina Celi, 
who, from his palaces at Rota and Puerto de Santa 
Maria, on the Bay of Cadiz, disposed of nearly as 
many sail as Medina Sidonia. 

The magnate listened, often and attentively, to the 
eloquent talk of the sailor seer whom he lodged in his 
house : how, far away across the western ocean, beyond 
the islands that the Portuguese had found, lay Asia, 
the home of gems and spices rare, now only reached 
painfully across the forbidden lands of the infidel and 
by the Levant Sea, or perchance, though that was not 

1 See Columbus's own letter to the nurse of Prince Juan, reproduced by 
Mr Thatcher. 


sure, around the mighty African continent ; that 
wealth untold lay there in pagan hands, awaiting those 
who, with cross and sword, should capture it, and win 
immortal souls for Christ, and so eternal glory. He, 
Colon, was the man destined by God to open up the 
new world foretold to Saint John in the tremendous 
dream of the Apocalypse, for some vast object of 
which he yet refrained to speak. Books, Seneca, 
Ptolemy, and the Arab geographers, the Fathers of 
the Church, legends half forgotten, the conclusions of 
science, the course of the stars, and the concentrated 
experience of generations of sailor men, were all used 
by the Genoese to convince the Duke. The prospect 
was an attracjiv^ nnp ; anH 1\/TprHna Celi promised to fit 

out the^ejcpedition . 

IrTthe building yards of Port Santa Maria the keels 
of three caravels were laid down to be built under 
Colon's superintendence. They were to cost three or 
four thousand ducats, and be fitted, provisioned and 
manned, for a year at the Duke's expense ; and Colon 
must have thought that now his dream was soon to 
come true, and that his doubt and toil would end. But 
for the inner purpose he had in view beyond the dis- 
covery of the easy way to Asia, he needed a patron 
even more powerful than Medina Celi ; and it may 
have been the discoverer who took means to let the 
Queen of Castile know the preparations that were 
being made, or, as Medina Celi himself wrote after- 
wards, the information may have been jgnt to Court 
by the Duke,Tearing to undertake^ so great an ^xpedi- 
tion~~wItEout his sovereign's licence. 1 , In either case, 

1 As Medina Celi was with Ferdinand during all the campaign of 1485, 
it is possible that he may have mentioned it to the King then, and have 
been told that when there was time the sovereigns themselves would 
examine into the matter. 


when Isabel was informed of it in the winter of 1485, 
she and her husband were in the north of Spain, and 
instructed the Duke to send Colon to court, that they 
might hear from his own mouth what his plans were. 

The mariner arrived at Cordova on the 2Oth January 
1486, with letters of introduction from the Duke to the 
Queen and his friends at court. The sovereigns were 
detained by business in Madrid and Toledo for three 
months after Colon came to Cordova ; but his letters 
procured for him some friends amongst the courtiers 
there, with whom he discussed the theories he had 
formed, especially with the Aragonese Secretary of 
Supplies, the Jewish Luis de Sant'angel, who, through- 
out, was his enlightened and helpful friend. Most of 
the idle hangers-on of the court at Cordova, clerical 
and lay, made merry sport of the rapt dreamer who 
lingered in their midst awaiting the coming of the 
sovereigns. His foreign garb and accent, his strange 
predictions, absurd on the face of them for how could 
one arrive at a given place by sailing directly away 
from it ? jJl_convince<i the shallow pates that this carder 
of wool turned sailo^HSs~macir 

When Isabel and Femmand at last arrived at Cor- 
dova, on the 28th April 1486, the season was already 
further advanced than usual to make preparations for 
the summer campaign : and there was little leisure for 
the sovereigns to listen to the vague theories of the 
sailor. But early in May Colon was received kindly 
by Isabel and her husband, and told his tale. Their 
minds were full of the approaching campaign, and of 
the trouble between Aragon and the new King of 
France about the two counties on the frontier unjustly 
withheld from Ferdinand ; and after seeing Colon for 
the first time Isabel instructed the secretary, Alfonso 


de Quintanilla to write to the Duke of Medina Celi 
that she did not consider the business very sure ; but 
that if anything came of it the Duke should have a 
share of the profits. 

Irj^the meanwhile Ferdinand and his wife were too 
busy to examine closely themselves mto the pros and 
cons of Colon's scheme, and followed the traditional 
course in such circumstances, that of referring the 
matter to a commission of experts and learned men to 
sift and report. The president of the commission was 
that mild-mannered but arrogant-minded confessor of 
the Queen, Father Talavera ; the man of one idea 
whom the conquest of Granada for the cross blinded 
to all other objects in life, With him for the most 
part were men like himself, saturated with the tradition 
of the church, that looked upon all innovation as im- 
piety, and all they did not understand as an invention 
of the evil one. So, when Colon sat with them and 
expounded his theories to what he knew were unsym- 
pathetic ears, he kept back his most convincing proofs 
and arguments ; for his treatment in Portugal had 
taught him caution. 1 There were two, at least, of the 
members of the commission who fought hard for 
Colon's view, Dr. Maldonado and the young friar 
Antonio de Marchena, but they were outvoted ; and 
when the report was presented it said that Colon's 
project was impossible, and that after so many thousands 
of years he could not discover unknown lands, and so 
surpass an almost infinite number of clever men who 
were experienced in navigation. 2 

Hardly had Talavera and his colleagues assured the 
sovereigns that the whole plan was impossible and 

1 Las Casas and F. Colon. 

2 Fernando Colon. 


vain, unfit for royal personages to patronise, 1 than 
Ferdinand again took the field (2Oth May), and once 
more Cristobal Colon was faced by failure. But he 
was a man not easily beaten. During his stay at 
Cordova he had made many friends, and gained many 
protectors at Court. First was his close acquaintance, 
Luis de Sant'angel, by whose intervention he was so 
promptly received by the sovereigns after their arrival 
at Cordova ; but others there were of much higher 
rank : the great Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, Men- 
doza, the tutor of the Prince Don Juan, Friar Diego 
Deza, Friar Juan Perez, who had first received Colon 
at La Rabida, and was now at court, Alonso de Quin- 
tanilla, the Queen's secretary, Juan Cabero, the intimate 
Aragonese friend and chamberlain of the King ; and 
one who probably did more in his favour quietly than 
any one else, that inseparable companion of Isabel, 
Beatriz de Bobadilla, now Marchioness of Moya. 

But it was weary waiting. As we have seen, the 
energies of the sovereigns were absorbed in the war. 
Ferdinand, molre^v^rTwas desperately anxious to finish 
it successfully, and get to Aragonese problems that 
interested him more directly ; the intended war with 
France and that world-wide combination he was already 
planning, by which not the strength of Spain alone 
but that of all Christendom should be at his bidding, 
to humble his rival and exalt Aragon in Italy, the 
Mediterranean and the East. It was too much to 
expect that Ferdinand would welcome very warmly 
any project for frittering away in another direction the 
strength of the nation he was hungering to use for his 
own ends. I sabeljuOn ihe other hand, would naturally 
be inclined fo jisjenjiigre sympathetically to such a 

1 Las Casas. 


project as that of Colon. Here was half a world to 
be won to Christianity under her flag, here was wealth 
illimitable to coerce the other hal and, above all, here 
was, the fair-faced mystic with his lymphatic blue eyes, 
like her own, showing her how the riches that would 
fall to his share were all destined for a crusade even 
greater than that of Granada, the winning of the Holy 
Sepulchre from the infidel, and the fixing for ever of 
the sovereign banner of Castile upon the country 
hallowed by the footsteps of our Lord. To Isabel, 
therefore, more than_tp Ferdinand, must it be attri- 
Buted, that when the campaign of 1486 was ended the 
Italian manner was not dismissed, notwithstanding 
the unfavourable report of Talavera's commission. 

The sovereigns were obliged to start out to far 
Galicia, as has been related on page 64 ; but before they 
went they replied to Colon that, ' though they were 
prevented at present from entering into new enter- 
prises, owing to their being engaged in so many wars 
and conquests, especially that of Granada, they hoped 
in time that a ^better__oppo_rtunity would occur__to_ 
examine his proposals and discuss his offers.'* This 
answer, at all events, prevented Colon's supporters in 
Spain from despairing ; and whilst the monarchs were 
in Galicia in the winter of 1486, the Dominican Deza, 
the Prince's tutor, who was also a professor at Sala- 
manca, conceived the idea that an independent inquiry 
by the pundits of the university might arrive at a 
different conclusion from that of Talavera's commission, 
and undo the harm the latter had effected. Though 
there is no evidence of the fact, it is certain that Deza, 
who was a Castilian and a member of the Queen's 
household, would not have taken such a step as he did 

1 Fernando Colon. 


without Isabel's consent. In any case, Colon travelled 
to Salamanca ; and there, as the guest of Deza in the 
Dominican monastery of Saint Stephen, he held con- 
stant conference with the learned men for whom the 
famous University was a centre. 

Isabel and her husband themselves arrived at Sala- 
manca in the last days of the year 1486, and heard 
from Deza and other friends that, in the opinion of 
most of them, the plans of Colon were perfectly sound. 
The effect was seen at once : the mariner accompanied 
the Court to Cordova in high hopes, no longer an un- 
attached projector of doubtful schemes, but a member 
of the royal household. Before once more taking the 
field in the spring of 1487, the Queen officially informed 
Colon that ' when circumstances permitted she and the 
King would carefully consider his proposal ' ; and in 
the meantime a sum of 3000 maravedis was given 
to him for his sustenance, a grant that was repeated, 
and sometimes exceeded, every few months afterwards. 
In August 1487, Colon was summoned by the sove- 
reigns to the siege of Malaga, probably to give advice 
as to some maritime operations ; but thenceforward he 
usually resided in Cordova, awaiting with impatience 
the convenience of the Queen and King. 

During the heartbreaking delay he entered again 
into"negotiation with the Kings of Portugal, France, 
and England, T)ut~wrtribut result ; and it was only 
when ffie city~"oT Granada was near its fall, and the 
end of the long war in sight, that Colon, following the 
sovereigns in Santa Fe, saw his hopes revive. Now, 
for the first time, he was invited to lay before them the 
terms he asked for if success crowned his project. 
Isabel had been already gained to Colon's view by the 
transparent conviction of the man and his saintly zeal. 


His friends at Court were now many and powerful, and 
Ferdinand himself had not failed to see that the 
promised accession of wealth to be derived from the 
discovery would strengthen his hands. Perhaps he, 
like Isabel, had been dazzled with Colon's life-dream 
of the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre ; for that would, 
if it were effected, tend to realise the highest ambitions 
of Aragon. But Ferdinand, as a prudent man of 
business, never allowed sentiment, however exalted, to 
override practical considerations. When, therefore, the 
t^msjjemanded_by^ Colon were at length submitted to 
him and the Queen, he unhesitatingly rejected them 
as'libsolutely out of the question. Much obloquy 
has Been heaped upon Ferdinand for his lack of 
generosity in doing so ; but a perusal of the conditions, 
with a consideration of the circumstances and ideas of 
the times, will convince any impartial person that 
Ferdinand's first rejection of them was more to his 
credit than his subsequent acceptance with the obvious 
intention of violating them. 

They were, indeed, extravagant and impracticable to 
the last degree. The title of Admiral had only been 
given in Spain to nobles of the highest rank and 
greatest possessions. The office, usually hereditary, 
carried with it seignorial rights over the coasts and 
ports that were practically sovereign, as in the case of 
the Enriquezs in Castile and of Medina Sidonia in 
Andalucia. And yet Colon, a plebeian Italian sailor, 
dropped as if from the clouds, made as his^ first 
demand, that he should be recognised as ' Admiral of 

that may be discovered or 


gained by his means, for himself_ during his life, and 
for his heirs and successors for ever, with all the 
prerogatives and pre-eminences appertaining to such 


office, as they are enjoyed by Don Alonso Enriquez, 
your Admiral of Castile.' The Admiral of Castile was 
Ferdinand's uncle, and the second person in realm 
after the blood royal ; and, although the office was 
hereditary in his house, the sovereigns of Castile had 
never surrendered the power of withdrawing the title 
if they pleased, whereas the Italian mariner demanded 
that for ever he and his should be practically inde- 
pendent of the sovereigns. The second condition was, 
that ^ Colon was t ^_bg_fi ov ggiQ r and Viceroy of all 
islands and continents_discovered, with the right of 
nominating three persons for each sub-j[oy^rnorship or 
office from which the sovereigns were bound tc^choose 
one. This latter condition was also an infraction of 
the right of the kings to choose their own officers 
freely. The discoverer claimed for himself and his 
heirs for ever one clear tenth ofLall merchandise, gold, 
gems, pearls, and commodities^ oj^gyery sort t bought. 
bartered, found, gained, or possessed, in the territories 
discovered. It was just, of course, that Colon should 
be splendidly rewarded if success crowned his efforts, 
but the imagination reels at the idea of the stupendous 
wealth that would have been his by virtue of such a 
claim as this. But this was not all. Colon claimed 
the right, if he pleased, of taking one-eighth share in 
every expedition and trading venture leaving Spain for, and, to crown all, 17 any dispute arose with 
regard to the discoverer's rights and profits, under the 
capitulation, he and h_is_jnominees were to be the sole 
judges of the case. 

Most of these demands could not be legally granted 
under the laws of Castile, and it is no wonder that 
when Colon refused^to modify them, he was curtly 
dismissed by Ferdinand, and told to go about his 


business and propose his plans elsewhere. There is 
no reason to doubt, in spite of romantic legends 
unsupported by evidence, that Isabel acquiesced in 
this action of her husband. She was, it is true, 
strongly in favour of the proposed undertaking ; but 
she was a greater stickler than Ferdinand for her 
regal prerogatives, and it is unlikely that she would 
have lightly surrendered them thus any more than he. 
In any case, Colon, in high dudgeon, left Santa Fe 
with the intention of offering his plans to France. 
First visiting in Cordova the lady with whom he had 
lived, he proceeded on his way to La Rabida, where 
his son Diego was still living, thence to embark for 
France. In the monastery there he again met the 
guardian. Fray Juari^Perez, the Queen's confessor t to 
whom he told his tale of disappointment ; and the 
physician, Hernandez, was summoned to the conference. 
Colon, with his earnestness and eloquence, impressed 
them more than ever with the glowing prospects of 
wealth unlimited for Spain, and glory undying for the 
Christian Queen, who should bring pagan Asia into 
the fold of the Church ; and, unknown to the explorer, 
Juan Perez sent post haste by a trusty messenger a 
letter to the Queen urging her not to let Colon go 
elsewhere with his plans. It is well-nigh two hundred 
miles, and a bad road, from Palos to Granada, and 
Isabel was in the midst of taking possession of the 
conquered city ; but yet she found time to send back 
an answer within a fortnight to Perez, who, by one 
pretext or another, had detained Colon in the 
monastery, bidding her late confessor himself to 
come and see her without delay, that she might 
discuss with him the subject of his solicitude. .JPerez 
lost no time ; for at midnight the same day, without 


a word to Colon, he rode out of La Rabida towards 

"What arguments he used to Isabel we do not know, 
probably he told her that Colon was inclined now to 
modify his pretensions. In any case, the good friar 
hurried back to the monastery with the cheering news 
that the Queen had promised to provide three caravels 
for the expedition, _and summoned Colon to court 
again, sending him, in a day or two, two thousand 
maravedis to buy himself some new clothes, and make 
him fit to appear before her. It is extremely unlikely 
indeed impossible that Isabel should have taken 
this step without Ferdinand's consent. She was the 
stronger vessel, and may have won him over to her 
way of thinking, aided probably by the representations 
of Juan Perez, that Colon's terms would be modified. 

The explorer arrived at Granada shortly after the 
triumphal entry of the conquerors, and saw Isabel (and 
presumably her husband) on several occasions at their 
quarters at Sante Fe. To Ferdinand's annoyance he 
found that Colon still insisted upon the same im- 
practicable conditions as before. Talavera, the new 
Archbishop of Granada, full of zeal for the Christian- 
isation of his new diocese, frowned at all suggestions 
that might divert attention to another direction ; and 
finally, the King and Queen decided to dismiss Colon 
for good as impossible to deal with. Rather than bate 
a jot of his vast claims, for, as he solemnly asserted 
afterwards, he needed not the wealth for himself, but 
to restore the Holy Land to Christendom, he wended 
his way heartbroken towards his home at Cordova ; 
his red hair now blanched entire to snow. The glory 
for Spain of discovering a new world for civilisation 
was trembling in the balance. The great dreamer, 


hopeless, had turned his back upon the court after 
seventy ears "of fruitless waiting, and Ferdinand, this 
time, had no intention of recalling him. 

Then the keen business prescience of the Jew 
Secretary of Supplies, JLuis__de Sant' angel, pained 
that such bright hopes should be carried to other 
lands, took what, for a man of his modest rank, was a 
very bold step. He was a countryman of Ferdinand, 
and in his confidence, but it was to Isabel he went, 
and with many expressions of humility and apology 
for his daring, 1 urged her not to miss such a chance as 
that offered by the Genoese^ Sant'angeT^appears to 
have been under the impression that the main reason 
for Colon's dismissal was the difficulty of the Castilian 
treasury providing the money he asked for, as he 
offered to lend the million maravedis necessary. It is 
quite likely, indeed, that he did not know the details of 
the explorer's demands as to reward. Isabel appears 
to have thanked Sant'angel for his offer and opinion, 
with which she said she agreed ; but asked him to 
defer the matter until she was more at leisure. 

This was something gained ; but the principal diffi- 
culty was to persuade Ferdinand. Another Aragonese 
it was who undertook it ; that inseparable companion of 
the King, the Chamberlain, Juan Cabero. What 
arguments he employed we know not, but he was 
as astute as Ferdinand himself, and probably we shall 
not be far from the truth when we presume that he 
and his master agreed that, since the Queen was so 
bent up6n the affair, it would be folly to haggle further 
over terms, which, after all, if they were found incon- 
venient, could be repudiated by the sovereigns, and it 

1 The speech, which is probably apocryphal, is given at length by Las 


is probable that Isabel may have been influenced by 
the same view. So, a few hours only after Colon had 
shaken the dust of Santa Fe from his feet, a swift 
horseman overtook him at the bridge of Los Pinos, 
and brought him back to court. 

^Againjie stood^finnjn his immj^ejraJ^prej^sJQ n s^ 
and the chaffering with him was resumed, for it must 
have been evident to Ferdinand that the terms could 
never be fulfilled. It must not be forgotten that 
Colon had come with a mere theory. The plan was 
not to discover a new continent : there was no idea 
then of a vast virgin America, but only of a shorter 
way to Japan and the realms of the great Khan. 
Such a project, great as the profit that might result, 
would naturally loom less in the sight of contemporary 
Spaniards than the Christianisation of Granada, and 
it is unjust to blame Ferdinand for holding out against 
terms which were even a derogation of his own and 
his wife's sovereignty. IsabeJ^Jkr-jnor^^dej^^ 
her husband.wasready'^Io' accede to Cojon^j^mands, 
anoHer advocacy carned~che dayl Possibly, to judge 
from what followed, even she assented, with the 
mental reservation that she, as sovereign, could, it 
she pleased, cancel the concessions she granted to 
Colon if she found them oppressive. 

The terms demanded, however, were not the only 
difficulty in the way. There was the question of 
ready money.; and^the waFTTad exhauste"HTEetreasury. 
ItTjTlm ungracious thing to demolish a~ pretty tradi- 
tional story, but that of Isabel's jewels, sacrificed to 
pay for Colon's first voyage, will not bear scrutiny. 1 

1 The legend of Queen Isabel and her jewels has been now completely 
disproved by my friend, Don Cesareo Fernandez Duro, in his article ' Las 
Joyas de la Reina Isabel' in the 'Revista Contemporanea/ vol. xxxviii. 


As a matter of fact, her jewels were already pawned 
for the costs of the war, and although Las Casas, 
Bernaldez, and Colon's son Fernando, say that the 
Queen offered to Sant'angel to pawn her jewellery 
for the purpose, and it is probable enough that in 
the heat of her enthusiasm she may have made such 
a suggestion figuratively, it is now quite certain 
jthat^jhe money for the expedition was advanced 
by LuisTlie San^angeT, "although no tPas was, and 
s^ usually supposed, from his own resources, but 
from money secretly given to him for the purpose 
from the Aragonese treasury, of which he was a 

The agre.emenl_wjth_ Colon, was signed finally in 
Santa Fe on the i ;th April TjgjJ and~aTlHe~~end'~ 
of~the month~trle~ great dreamer departed, this time 
with a light heart and rising hopes, to Palos and 
La Rabida to fit out his caravels, and sail _o n the, 
yd__ August 1402 for his fot-e.fiil voyage. With him 
went Isabel's prayers and hopes ; and during his 
tiresome and obstructed preparations at Palos, she 
aided him to the utmost by grants and precepts, 2 as 
well as by appointing his legitimate son, Diego, page 
to her heir, Prince Juan, in order that the lad might 

1 Professor Ibarra y Rodriguez's interesting study ' Fernando el Catolico 
y el Descubrimiento ' (Madrid, 1892) makes this matter clear for the first 
time. The treasury of Castile was empty, but Ferdinand had plenty of 
money in Aragon. He was careful, however, not to allow the Castilians 
to know this, or they would have clamoured for some of it for their war 
against Granada, whilst he was hoarding it for his war against France. 
He therefore went through the comedy of causing Sant'angel to lend the 
million maravedis, apparently out of his own pocket, but the money was 
secretly advanced for the purpose to Sant'angel from the King's Aragonese 
treasury, to which it was subsequently repaid through Sant'angel. 

2 Some of these took the form of generosity at other people's expense. 
The town of Palos was ordered, as punishment for some offence, to 
provide two caravels and stores. 


have a safe home during his father's absence. Although 
Isabel's action in the discovery may be less heroic 
and independent of her husband, than her enthusiastic 
biographers are fond of representing, it is certain that 
but for her Ferdinand would not have patronised the 
expedition. Looking at the whole circumstances, and 
his character, it is difficult to blame him, except at 
last for agreeing to terms that he knew were impossible 
of fulfilment, and which he probably never meant to 
fulfil. But Isabel's idealism in this case was wiser 
than Ferdinand's practical prudence, so far as the 
immediate result was concerned, and to Isabel the 
Catholic must be given the glory of having aided 
Columbus, rather than to her husband, who was 
persuaded against his will. 

Granada was conquered for Isabel, and it was now 
Ferdinand's turn to have his way. For years Aragonese 
interests had had to wait, though, as Ferdinand well 
knew, the unifying process, which he needed for his 
ends, was being perfected the while. Under the stern 
rule of Torquemada the Inquisition had struck its 
tentacles into the nation's heart, and, crazy with the 
pride of superiority over infidels, the orthodox Spaniard 
was rapidly developing the confidence in his divine 
selection to scourge the enemies of God, which made 
the nation temporarily great. Isabel was the inspiring 
soul of this feeling. A foreigner, visiting her court 
soon after Granada fell, wrote, as most contemporaries 
did of her, in enthusiastic praise of what we should 
now consider cruel bigotry. ' Nothing is spoken of 
here,' he says, * but making war on the enemies of 
the faith, and sweeping away all obstructions to the 
Holy Catholic Church. Not with worldly, but with 
heavenly aim, is all they undertake, and all they do 


seems inspired direct from heaven, as these sovereigns 
most surely are.' 1 

This eulogium refers to the plan then under dis- 
cussion for ridding Isabel's realms of the taint of 
Judaism. We are told that to the Queen's initiative 
this terrible and disastrous measure was due. ' The 
Jews were so powerful in the management of the 
royal revenues that they formed almost another royal 
caste. This gave great scandal to the Catholic Queen, 
and the_decree was, signed that all those who would 
not in three mojiths embrace the faith, were to leave 
her kingdoms of .Castile and Leon.'j 2 Ferdinand was 
quite willing, in this case, to give the saintly Queen 
and her clergy a free hand, because, to carry out his 
world-wide^ combmatioiU&Jiumble France, he would 
need money very much money and the wholesale 
confiscation of Jewish property that accompanied the 
edict of expulsion was his only ready way of getting 
it. On the 3Oth March 1492, less than three weeks 
before the signature of the agreement with Colon, the 
dread edict against the Jews went forth. Religious 
rancour had been inflamed to fever heat against 
these people, who were amongst the most enlightened 
and useful citizens of the State, and whose services 
to science, when the rest of Europe was sunk in 
darkness, make civilisation eternally their debtor. 
They were said to carry on in secret foul rites of 
human sacrifice, to defile the Christianity that most 
of them professed, and Isabel's zeal, prompted by the 
churchmen, was already climbing to the point after- 
wards reached by her great-grandson, Philip IL, when 

1 Quoted by Florez. ' Reinas Catolicos.' 

' 2 Ibid. Both Luis de Sant'angel, who served as accountant general, 
and Gabriel Sanchez, the Aragonese treasurer, were of Jewish descent. 


he swore that, come what might, he would never be 
a king of heretic subjects. 

By the 3<Dth July 1492 not a professed Jew was to 
be left alive in Isabel's dominions. With crueljxony, 
m_\vhjch_J^ the 

banished people were permitted-^tQjsell their property, 
Vet forBI(3cten~T6 carrythe money abroad^ with them. 
AF^easF^quaffer oT a InHlternST Spaniards of all 
ranks and ages, men, women, and children, ill or well, 
were driven forth, stripped of everything, to seek 
shelter in foreign lands. The decree was carried 
out with relentless ferocity, and the poor wretches, 
straggling through Spain to some place of safety, 
were an easy prey to plunder and maltreat. It was 
a saturnalia of robbery. The shipmasters extorted 
almost the last ducat to carry the fugitives to Africa 
or elsewhere, and then, in numberless cases, cast their 
passengers overboard as soon as they were at sea. It 
was said that, in order to conceal their wealth, the 
Jews swallowed their precious gems, and hundreds 
were ripped up on the chance of discovering their 
riches. There was no attempt or pretence of mercy. 
The banishment was intended, not alone to remove 
Judaism as a creed from Spain that might have been 
done without the horrible cruelty that ensued but 
as a doom of death for all professing Jews ; for 
Torquemada had, five years before, obtained a Bull 
from the Pope condemning to major excommunication 
the authorities of all Christian lands who failed to 
arrest and send back every fugitive Jew from Spain. 1 

1 From Ulick Burke's 'History of Spain.' Edited by Martin Hume. Only 
five years after the expulsion from Spain, as many of the Spanish Jews 
had fled to Portugal, Isabel, through her daughter, who had married the 
King of Portugal, coerced the latter to expel all Jews from his country. 


Isabel appears to have had no misgiving. Her 
spiritual guides, to whom she was so humble, praised 
her to the skies for her saintly zeal : her subjects, 
inflated with religious arrogance, joined the chorus 
raised by servile scribes and chroniclers, that the dis- 
covery of the new lands by Colon was heaven's reward 
to Isabel for ejecting the Hebrew spawn from her 
sacred realm ; and if her woman's heart felt a pang 
at the suffering and misery she decreed, it was 
promptly assuaged by the assurance of the austere 
churchmen, who ruled the conscience of the Queen. 

Leaving Talavera as archbishop, and Count de 
Tendilla as governor of conquered Granada, Isabel 
and her husband, with their children and a splendid 
court, travelled in the early summer of 1492 to their 
other dominions where their presence was needed. 
Ferdinand, indeed, was yearning to get back to his 
own people, who were growing restive at his long 
absence, and for the coming war with France, it was 
necessary for him to win the love of his Catalan 
subjects, who, at first, still remembering his murdered 
half-brother, the Prince of Viana, had borne him little 
affection. He had treated them, however, with great 
diplomacy, respecting their sturdy independence, and 
had asked little from them, and by this time, in the 
autumn of 1492, when he and Isabel, with their 
promising son, Juan, by their side, rode from Aragon 
through the city of Barcelona to the palace of the 
Bishop of Urgel, where they were to live, the Catalans 
were wild with enthusiasm for the sovereigns with 
whose names all Christendom was ringing. 

Ferdinand nearly fell a victim to the attack of a 
lunatic assassin in December, as he was leaving his hall 
of justice at Barcelona, and during his imminent danger 


Isabel's affection and care for him gained for her also 
the love of the jealous Catalans. 1 Throughout the 
winter in Barcelona Ferdinand^ was busy weaving his 
web of ^intrigue a round^F rance^joAS^io^^to which 
reference will presently be made, and in March 1493 
there came flying to the court the tremendous news 
that Colon had run into the Tagus for shelter after 
discovering the lands for which he had gone in search. 
No particulars of the voyage were given ; but not 
many days passed before Luis de Sant'angel, the 
Aragonese Treasurer Gabriel Sanchez, and the mon- 
archs themselves, received by the hands of a messenger 
sent by the explorer from Palos, letters giving full 
details of the voyage. 2 No doubt as to the importance 
of the discovery was any longer entertained, and when 
the Admiral of the Indies himself entered Barcelona 
in the middle of April, after a triumphal progress across 
Spain, honours almost royal were paid to him. He 
was received at the city gates by the nobles of the 
court and city, and led through the crowded streets to 
the palace to confront the sovereigns, at whose feet he 
was, though he and they knew it not, laying a new 
world. With him he brought mild bronze-skinned 
natives decked with barbaric gold ornaments, birds of 
rare plumage, and many strange beasts ; gold in dust 
and nuggets had he also, to show that the land he had 
found was worth the claiming. 

Ferdinand and Isabel, with their son, received him in 

1 It is said that Ferdinand tried to save the life of his assailant, who 
had been condemned to the most cruel and awful tortures as a punish- 
ment. The Catalans, furious at being baulked of their vengeance, appealed 
to Isabel, who decided that the sentence should be carried out, but that 
the victim should be secretly suffocated first. 

' 2 The Luis de Sant'angel and the Sanchez letter have been published 
several times, but the letter to the Sovereigns has been lost, but for some 
passages quoted by Las Casas. 


state in the great hall of the bishop's palace ; and, rising 
as he approached them, bade him to be seated, an un- 
precedented honour, due to the fact that they recognised 
his high rank as Admiral of the Indies. With fervid 
eloquence he told his tale. How rich and beautiful was 
the land he had found ; how mild and submissive the 
new subjects of the Queen, and how ready to receive 
the faith of their mistress. Isabel was deeply moved 
at the recital, and when the Admiral ceased speaking 
the whole assembly knelt and gave thanks to God for 
so signal a favour to the crown of Castile. Thence- 
forward during his stay in Barcelona, Colon was treated 
like a prince ; and when he left in May to prepare his 
second expedition to the new found land, he took with 
him powers almost sovereign to turn to account and 
bring to Christianity the new vassals of Queen Isabel. 
It is time to say something of Isabel's family and her 
domestic life. As we have seen, she had been during 

the nineteen years_sjnce her accession constant! yah- 

- _ . - > * 

sorted in state and warlike affairs ; and the effects of 
her efforts to reform her country had already been 
prodigious, but her public duties did not blind her to 
the interests of her own household and kindred ; and 
no personage of her time did more to bring the new- 
born culture into her home than she. She had given 
birth during the strenuous years we have reviewed to 
five children. Isabel, born in October 1470; John, 
the only son, in 1478; Joan in 1479, Maria in 1482, 
and Katharine at the end of 1485 : and these young 
princesses and prince had enjoyed the constant super- 
vision of their mother. Her own education had been 
narrow under her Dominican tutors, and that of Ferdi- 
nand was notoriously defective. But Isabel was deter- 
mined that her children should not suffer in a similar 


respect, and the most learned tutors that Italy and 
Spain could provide were enlisted to teach, not the 
royal children alone, but the coming generation of 
nobles, their companions, the_ wider culture of the 
classics^and_the_jvor]d_^^ had so much 

neglected. And not book learning alone was instilled 
into these young people by the Queen. She made her 
younger ladies join her in the work of the needle and the 
distaff, and set the fashion for great dames to devote 
their leisure, as she did, to the embroidering of gorgeous 
altar cloths and church vestments, whilst the noble 
youths, no longer allowed, as their ancestors had been, 
to become politically dangerous, were encouraged to 
make themselves accomplished in the arts of disciplined 
warfare and literary culture. 

Isabel, like all her descendants upon the throne, 
set a high standard of regal dignity, and in all her 
public appearances assumed a demeanour of impas- 
sive serenity and gorgeousness which became tradi- 
tional at a later period ; but she could be playful 
and jocose in her family circle, as her nicknames 
for her children prove. Her eldest girl, Isabel, who 
married the King of Portugal, bore a great resem- 
blance to the Portuguese mother of Isabel herself, and 
the latter always called her child 'mother,' whilst her 
son Juan to her was always the 'angel,' from his 
beautiful fair face. She could joke, too, on occasion, 
though the specimens of her wit cited by Father Florez 
are a little outspoken for the present day ; and her 
contemporary chroniclers tell many instances of her 
keen caustic wit. Her tireless and often indiscreet zeal 
for the spread of tneTaith has been mentioned several 
times in these pages ; but submissive as she was to the. 
^clergy, she was ke^ly^ljyje_^y^a-tQ_.their defects, and 


the laxity of the regular orders, which had grown to be 
a scandal, was reformed by her with ruthless_severity. 
Her principal instrument, perhaps the initiator, of this 
work was the most remarkable ecclesiastical statesman 
ofjiis time, anoTone of the greatest Spaniards who ever 
livecT, Alfonso Jimenez de Cisnerps. 

A humble Franciscan friar of over fifty, living as an 
anchorite in a grot belonging to the monastery of 
Castanar, near Toledo, after a laborious life as a secular 
priest and vicar general of a diocese, would seem the 
last man in the world to become the arbiter of a nation's 
destinies ; and yet this was the strange fate of Jimenez. 
When Talavera was created Bishop of Granada, Isabel 
needed a new principal confessor ; and, as usual in such 
matters, consulted the Cardinal Primate of Spain, 
Mendoza, who years before had been Bishop of 
Siguenza, and had made Father Jimenez his chaplain 
and vicar-general, because his rival archbishop, that 
stout old rebel Carrillo, had persecuted the lowly priest. 
Mendoza knew that his former vicar-general had retired 
from the world, and was living in self-inflicted suffering 
and mortification ; and he was wont to say that such a 
man was born to rule, and not to hide himself as an 
anchorite in a cloister. When, after the surrender of 
Granada, a new royal confessor was required, Jimenez, 
greatly to his dismay, real or assumed, was at the in- 
stance of the Cardinal summoned to see the Queen. 
Austere and poorly clad, he stood before the sovereign 
whom he was afterwards to rule, and fervently begged 
her to save him from the threatened honour. In vain 
he urged his unfitness for the life of a court, his want of 
cultivation and the arts of the world ; his humility was 
to Isabel a further recommendation, and she would take 
no denial. 



Thenceforward the pale emaciated figure, in a frayed 
and soiled Franciscan frock, stalked like a spectre 
amidst the splendours that surrounded the Queen ; 
feared for his stern rectitude and his iron strength of 
will. His mind was full, even then, of great plans to 
reform the order of Saint Francis, corrupted as he had 
seen it was in the cloisters ; and when the office of 
Provincial of the Order became vacant soon afterwards 
the new Confessor accepted it eagerly. Through all 
Castile, to every monastery of the Order, Jimenez rode 
on a poor mule with one attendant and no luggage ; 
living mostly upon herbs and roots by the way. 
When, at last, Isabel recalled him peremptorily to her 
siETe, he painted to her so black a picture of the shameful 
licence and luxury of the friars, that the Queen, horri- 
TTed at such impiety, vowed to sustain her Confessor in 
the work of reform. It was a hard fought battle; for 
the Priors were rich and powerful, and in many cases 
were strongly supported from Rome. All sorts of in- 
fluences were brought to bear. Ferdinand was be- 
sought to mitigate the reforming zeal of Isabel and 
Jimenez, and did his best to do so. The Prior of the 
Holy Ghost in Segovia boldly took Isabel to task per- 
sonally, and told her that her Confessor was unfit for 
his post. When Isabel asked the insolent friar whether 
he knew what he was talking about he replied, * Yes, 
and I know that I am speaking to Queen Isabel, who 
is dust and ashes as I am.' But all was unavailing, 
the broom wielded by Jimenez and the Queen swept 
through every monastery and convent in the land ; the 
Queen herself taking the nunneries in hand, and with 
gentle firmness examining for herself the circumstances 
in every case before compelling a rigid adherence to 
the conventual vows. When Mendoza di< in January 


1495, tne greatest ecclesiastical benefice in the world 
after the papacy, the Archbishopric of Toledo, became 
vacant. Ferdinand wanted it for his illegitimate son, 
Alfonso of Aragon, aged twenty-four, who had been 
Archbishop of Saragossa since he was six. But Toledo 
was in the Queen's gift, and to her husband's indignation 
she insisted upon appointing Jimenez. The Pope, 
Alexander vi., who had just conferred the title of 
' Catholic ' upon the Spanish sovereigns, was by birth 
a Valencian subject of Ferdinand ; and there was a 
race of the rival Spanish claimants to win the support 
of Rome. But Castile had right as well as might on 
his side this time, and, again to his expressed dis* 
pleasure, Jimenez became primate of Spain, and the 
greatest man in the land after the King who distrusted 
him. 1 > 

^C_From their births Ferdinand had destined his 
children to be instruments in his great scheme for 
humbling France for the benefit of Aragon ; and 
Isabel, in this respect, appears usually to have let 
him have his way. It was a complicated and tortuous 
way, which, in a history of the Queen, cannot be fully 
described. Suffice it to say that when Ferdinand 
found himself by the fall of Granada free to take his 
own affairs seriously in hand, he had for years been 
intriguing for political marriage for his children. First 

1 It is related that the Queen concealed from Jimenez her intention to 
make him Primate, and handed him unexpectedly the papal bull addressed 
to him as : The venerable brother Francisco Jimenez de Cisneros, Arch- 
bishop-elect of Toledo. When the friar saw the superscription he dropped 
the document and fled, crying, This bull is not for me. He was pursued 
and caught two leagues from Madrid by envoys from Isabel, and still re- 
fused the great preferment on the ground of his unworthiness. He stood 
out for six months until Isabel obtained from the Pope a peremptory 
command to him to accept the archbishopric, and even then he insisted 
that the vast revenues should be used for pious and charitable purposes. 


he had endeavoured to capture the young King of 
France, Charles vin., on his accession in 1483, by a 
marriage with Isabel, the eldest daughter of Spain. 
Charles vm. was already betrothed to Margaret of 
Burgundy, but Anne of Brittany, with her French 
dominion, was preferred to either, and then (1488) 
Ferdinand, finding himself forestalled, betrothed his 
youngest daughter, Katharine, to Arthur, Prince of 
Wales, to win the support of Henry Tudor in a war 
against France, 1 to prevent the absorption of Brittany. 
All parties were dishonest ; but Ferdinand outwitted 
allies and rivals alike. Henry vn. of England was 
cajoled into invading France ; whilst Ferdinand, in- 
stead of making war on his side as arranged, quietly 
extorted from the fears of Charles vm. an offensive 
and defensive alliance against the world, with the 
retrocession to Aragon of the counties of Roussillon 
and Cerdagne ; and England was left in the lurch. 

There is no doubt that the object of the King of 
France in signing such a treaty was to buy the implied 
acquiescence of Ferdinand in making good his shadowy 
claims to the kingdom of Naples, then ruled by the 
unpopular kinsman of Ferdinand himself. As was 
proved soon afterwards, nothing was further from 
Ferdinand's thoughts than thus to aid the ambition 
of the shallow, vain King of France in the precise 
direction where he wished to check it. But in appear- 
ance the great festivities held in Barcelona on the 
signature of the treaty in January 1493, heralded a 
cordial settlement of the long-standing enmity between 
the two rivals. Isabel took her share in the rejoic- 
ings ; and rigid bigots appear to have written to her 

1 A full account of these complicated intrigues will be found in the 
present writer's * Wives of Henry vm.' 


late Confessor, Archbishop Talavera, an exaggerated 
account of her participation in the gaiety. Isabel, in 
answer to the letter of reprimand he sent her, defended 
herself with spirit and dignity, after a preface express- 
ing humble submission. ' You say that some danced 
who ought not to have danced ; but if that is intended 
to convey that I danced, I can only say that it is not 
true ; I have little custom of dancing, and I had no 
thought of such a thing. . . . The new masks you 
complain of were worn neither by me nor by my ladies ; 
and not one dress was put on that had not been worn 
ever since we came to Aragon. The only dress I wore 
had, indeed, been seen by the Frenchmen before, 'and 
was my silk one with three bands of gold, made as 
plainly as possible. This was all my part of the fes- 
tivity. Of the grand array and showy garments you 
speak of, I saw nothing and knew nothing until I read 
your letter. The visitors who came may have worn 
such fine things when they appeared ; but I know of 
no others. As for the French people supping with 
the ladies at table, that is a thing they are accustomed 
to do. They do not get the custom from us ; but 
when their great guests dine with sovereigns, the 
others in their train dine at tables in the hall with 
the ladies and gentlemen ; and there are no separate 
tables for ladies. The Burgundians, the English and 
the Portuguese, also follow this custom ; and we on 
similar occasions to this. So there is no more evil in 
it, nor bad repute, than in asking guests to your own 
table. I say this, that you may see that there was no 
innovation in what we did ; nor did we think we were 
doing anything wrong in it. ... But if it be found 
wrong after the inquiry I will make, it will be better 
to discontinue it in future. The dresses of the gentle- 


men were truly very; costly, and I did not commend 
tKerff; and, indeed, moderated them as much as I could, 
and advised them not to have such garments made. 
As for the Bull feasts, I feel, with you, though perhaps 
not quite so strongly. But after I had consented to 
them, I had the fullest determination never to attend 
them again in my life, nor to be where they were held. 
I do not say that I can of myself abolish them ; for 
that does not appertain to me alone, nor do I defend 
them, for I have never found pleasure in them. 1 When 
you know the truth of what really took place, you may 
determine whether it be evil, in which case it had better 
be discontinued. For my part all excess is distasteful 
to me, and I am wearied with all festivity, as I have 
written you in a long letter, which I have not sent, nor 
will I do so, until I know whether, by God's grace, 
you are coming to meet us in Castile/^J> 

This letter gives a good idea of Isabel's submission 
to her spiritual advisers, as well as of her own good 
sense and moderation, which prevented her from 
giving blind obedience to them. Another instance 
of this is seen by Isabel's attitude towards the chapter 
of Toledo Cathedral after the death of her friend 
Cardinal Mendoza (January 1495), tne third King of 
Spain, as he had been called. The Queen travelled 
from Madrid to Guadalajara to be with him at his 
death, and tended him to the last, promising, person- 
ally, to act as his executor, and to see that all his 
testamentary wishes were fulfilled. Amongst these 
was the desire of the prelate to be buried in a 

1 Father Florez quotes a remark of Isabel, on another occasion, warmly 
approving of the bull-fight, ' which, though foreigners who have not seen 
it condemn as barbarous, she considered it very different, and as a diver- 
sion where valour and dexterity shine.' 

2 Florez, * Reinas Catolicos. 3 


certain spot in the chancel of the cathedral. To 
this the chapter had readily assented in the life of 
the archbishop, but when he had died they refused 
to allow the structural alterations necessary, and the 
matter was carried to the tribunals, which decided in 
favour of the executors. The chapter still stood firm 
in their refusal, and then the Queen, as chief executrix, 
took the matter in her own hands, and herself super- 
intended the necessary demolition of the wall of the 
chapel at night, to the surprise and dismay of the 
chapter, who no longer dared to interfere. 1 

On leaving Aragon after the signature of the hollow 
Treaty of Barcelona (1493), Isabel and her husband 
took up their residence in the Alcazar of Madrid, 
where, with short intervals, they remained in residence 
for the next six years. During this period, spent, 
as will be told by F^rcHnand^^jin almost constant 
struggle for his own objects in Italy and elsewhere, 
Isabel was tireless in her efforts for domestic reform. 
The purification of the monasteries and convents went " 
on continually under the zealous incentive~oTThe new 
Archbishop of Toledo, Jimenez : the roads and water- 
sources throughout Castile were improved ; the^muni- 
cipal_authorities, corrupt as they had become by the 
introduction of the purchase of offices, and the effects 
of noble intrigue, were brought under royal inspection 
and control ; and this, though it improved the govern- 
ment of the towns, further sapped their independence 
and legislative power. The Universities and high 
schools, which had shared in the universal decadence, 
were overhauled, and a higher standard of graduation 
enforced : the_ coinage, which had become hopelessly 
debased, in consequence of the vast number of noble 

1 Montero de los Rios ' Historia de Madrid.' 



and municipal mints in existence, was unified and 
rehabilitated : sumptuary pragmatics, mistaken as they 
appear to us now, but well-intentione^L-at the time, 
endeavoured to restrain extravagance arid idle vanity : 
rrt^asnres for promoting agriculture, the great cloth 
industry of Segovia and oversea commerce, and a 
score of other similar enactments during these years, 
from 1494 to the end of the century, show how 
catholic and patriotic was Isabel's activity at the 
tifne that Ferdinand was busy with his own Aragonese 
plans. The annals of Madrid at this period give a 
curious account of Isabel's prowess in another direction. 
The neighbourhood of the capital was infested with 
bears, and one particular animal, of special size and 
ferocity, had committed much damage. By order of the 
Queen a special battue was organised, and the bear was 
killed by a javelin in the hands of Isabel herself, upon 
the spot where now stands the hermitage of St. 
Isidore, the patron of Madrid. 1 

^Terdina^^ perspicacity, and 

the Hir^reactimg" combinations he had formed, now 
began to produce some of the international results 
foTwhich he had worked. The Treaty of Barcelona 
had bound Ferdinand to friendship with France, and 
abstention from marrying his children in England, 
Germany or Naples, and implied the leaving to 
Charles vm. of a free hand in Italy : but no sooner 
had Ferdinand received his L _rewardJ)y the retrocession 
of Roussillon and Cerdagne to him, than he broke all 
his obligations under the treaty. Charles vm. had 
marched through Italy, to the intense anger of the 
native princes, and took possession of Naples, and 
then Ferdinand, in coalition with the Valencian Pope, 

1 Oviedo. 


Alexander vi., formed the combination of Venice, and 
Spanish troops under the great Castilian, Gonzalo de 
Cordova, expelled the French from Naples, and set 
up the deposed Aragonese- Neapolitan king, until it 
should please, as it soon did, Ferdinand to seize the 
realm for himself. 

This war was an awakening to all Europe that a 
new fighting nation had entered into the arena. 
Already the proud spirit of superiority by divine 
selection was being felt by Spaniards as a result of 
the religious persecution of the minority, and the 
devotional exaltation inspired by the example of the 
Queen : and under so great a commander as Gonzalo 
de Cordova Spanish troops for the first time now 
showed the qualities which, for a century at least, 
made them invincible. 1 Whilst this result attended 
the policy of Isabel and her husband in religious 
affairs, their action in another direction simultaneously, 
whilst for the moment seeming to give to Ferdinand 
the hegemony of Europe, really wrought the ruin of 
Spain by bringing her into the vortex of central Euro- 
peanjDolitics^ and burdening her with the championship 
ofjm impossible cause under impossible conditions. ' 

1 Ferdinand had wished to appoint an Aragonese commander, but as 
Castile was defraying most of the expenses of the war, Isabel insisted 
upon a Castilian being appointed. 


AMIDST infinite chicanery and baseness on both sides 
the marriage_Jreaty of Isabel's youngest daughter, 
Katharine, with Arthur, Prince of Wales, had been 
alternately confirmed and relaxed, as suited Ferdi- 
nand's interests] But he took care that it could be at 
any time revived when need should demand it. This 
made Ferdinand always able to deal a diverting blow 
upon France in the Channel. But Ferdinand's main 
Sitroke_^__Eolicy was the double marriage of his 
children, Juaj3 4 __Prince of Asturias, with the Arch- 
duchess Margaret, daughter of Maximilian, sovereign 
of the Holy Roman Empire ; and of Joan, Isabel's 
second daughter, with Philip, Maximilian's son, and, 
by right of his mother, sovereign of the dominions of 
the Dukes of Burgundy with Holland and Flanders ; 
whilst Isabel's eldest daughter, already the widow of 
the Portuguese prince, Alfonso, was betrothed to his 
cousin, King Emmanuel. Imagination is dazzled at 
the prospect opened out by these marriages. The 
children of Philip and Joan would hold the fine 
harbours of Flanders, and would hem in France by 
the possession of Artois, Burgundy, Luxembourg, and 
the Franche Comt6 ; whilst their possession of the 
imperial crown and the German dominions of the 
house of Hapsburg would identify their interests with 
those of Ferdinand in checking the French advance 



towards Italy. On the other side of the Channel the 
grandchildren of Ferdinand and Isabel would rule 
England, and hold the narrow sea ; whilst the friend- 
ship between England and Scotland, prompted by 
Ferdinand, and the marriage of Margaret Tudor with 
James iv., deprived France of her ancient northern 
ally. The King of Aragon might then, with the 
assurance of success, extend his grasp from Sicily to 
the East, and become the master of the world. The 
plan was a splendid one ; and for a time it went merry 
as the marriage bells that heralded it. With his 
family seated on the Portuguese throne, Ferdinand 
had, moreover, no attack to fear on that side from 
French intrigue, such as had often been attempted ; and 
for a brief period it seemed as if all heaven had smiled 
upon the astute King of Aragon. 

Isabel had always been an exemplary mother to her 
children, who, on their side, were deeply devoted to 
her. She had rarely allowed them to be separated 
from her, even during her campaigns ; and had herself 
cared for their education in letters, music, and the arts 
under the most accomplished masters in Europe. 1 
When they had to be sacrificed one by one for the 
political ends of their father, Isabel's love as a mother 
almost overcame her sense of duty as a queen, ^and in 
the autumn of 1496 she travelled through Spain with a 
heavy heart to take leave of her seventeen-year old 
daughter, Joan, for whom a great fleet of 120 sail was 
waiting in the port of Laredo, near Santander. The 
King was away in Catalonia preparing his war with 
France ; the times were disturbed, and a strong navy 
with 15,000 armed men were needed to escort the 
young bride to Flanders, the home of her husband, 

1 Clemencin. 'Elogio. 3 


Philip of Burgundy, heir of the empire, and to bring 
back to Spain the betrothed of Prince Juan, Philip's 
sister, Margaret, who, in her infancy, had been allied 
to the faithless Charles vm. of France. For two 
nights after the embarkation Isabel slept on the ship 
with her daughter, loath to part with her, as it seemed, 
for ever ; and when, at last, the fleet sailed, on the 
22nd August 1496, the mother, in the deepest grief, 
turned her back upon the sea, and rode sadly to 
Burgos to await tidings of her daughter. 

Storms and disasters innumerable assailed the fleet. 
Driven by tempest into Portland, one of the largest of 
the ships came into collision and foundered ; and though 
the young Archduchess received every courtesy and 
attention from the English gentry, she was not even 
yet at the end of her troubles ; for on the Flemish 
coast another great ship was wrecked, with most of 
her household, trousseau, and jewels. Eventually the 
whole fleet arrived at Ramua, sorely disabled, and 
needing a long delay for refitting before it could return 
to Spain with the bride of Isabel's heir. 1 Whilst Joan 
was being married, with all the pomp traditional in the 
house of Burgundy, to her handsome, good-for-nothing 
husband, Philip, at Lille, Queen Isabel, at Burgos, in 
the deepest distress, was mourning for the loss of her 
own distraught mother, as well as for her daughter. 2 
Every post from Flanders brought the Queen evil 
news. The fleet that had carried Joan over, and was 
refitting to bring Margaret to Spain, was mostly 
unseaworthy : Philip neglected and ill-treated his 

1 Zurita, ' Anales,' and Padilla, ' Cronica de Felipe I. ' 

2 The Spanish chroniclers complain bitterly of Philip's slowness in 
coming to meet his bride. He was in Tyrol when she arrived in 
Flanders, and spent nearly a month in joining her at Lille. From the 
first the love was all on poor Joan's side. 


wife's countrymen to the extent of allowing 9000 of 
the men on the fleet at Antwerp to die from cold and 
privation, without trying to help them ; already his 
young wife was complaining of his conduct. Her 
Spanish household were unpaid ; and even the income 
settled upon her by Philip was withheld, on the pretext 
that Ferdinand had not fulfilled his part of the bargain, 
which was, of course, true. 

At length, after what seemed interminable delay, the 
Archduchess Margaret arrived at Santander early in 
March 1497. Ferdinand, with a great train of nobles, 
received his future daughter-in-law as she stepped 
upon Spanish soil, and a few days later Queen Isabel 
welcomed her in the palace of Burgos, where, with 
greater rejoicing than had ever been seen in Castile, 
heir of Ferdinand and Tsahe.1 was married to 


gentle Margaret, one of the finest characters of her 
time. Seven months afterwards the Prince of Asturias, 
at the age of twenty -one,_ was borne to his grave, 
arid~~rris wife gave birth to a dead child. 1 The blow 
was one from which Isabel never recovered. Juan 
was her only son, her 'angel,' from the time of his 
birth ; and the dearest wish of her heart had been the 
unification of Spain under him and his descendants. 

^^ ^ _ _ -^ _ ___ ! _ | - ----- - ----- ' -- - 

The next heiress was Isabel, her eldest daughter, just 
(August 1497) married to King EmmanueFoFPbltugal, 
and the jealous Aragonese and Catalans would hardly 
brook a woman sovereign ; and, above all, one ruling 

1 Ferdinand, it is related, fearing that the sudden news of Juan's death 
would kill Isabel with grief, caused her to be told that it was her husband, 
Ferdinand himself, that had died, so that when he presented himself 
before her, the as he supposed lesser grief of her son's death should be 
mitigated by learning that her husband was alive. The experiment does 
not appear to have been very successful, as Isabel was profoundly affected 
when she heard the truth. (Florez^ * Reinas Catolicos'). 


from Portugal, when Ferdinand should die. 1 Hastily 
Cortes of Castile was summoned at Toledo, and swore 
allegiance to the new heiress and her Portuguese 
husband^ as princes of Asturias in April 1498, but 
she, too, died in childbed in August, when the heirship 
devolved upon her infant son, MTguel, who, if he had 
lived, would have united not only Spain, but all the 
Iberian Peninsula under one rule. But it was not to be, 
and the babe followed his mother to the grave in a 
few months. 

Troubles fell thick and fast .upon Isabel and her 
husband. Death within three years had made cruel 
sport of all their plans ; and the support of England, 
long held in the balance by Ferdinand, to be bought 
when it was worth the price demanded, had now to be 
obtained almost at any cost. The price had increased 
considerably ; for Henry Tudor was as keen a hand at 
a bargain as Ferdinand of Aragon, and closely watched 
events. With the usual grasping dishonesty on both 
sides, the treaty for the marriage of Isabel's youngest 
daughter, Katharine, to the heir of England was again 
signed and sealed, and the young couple were married 
by proxy in May 1499. But Katharine was young. 
Her mother could hardly bring herself to part with her 
last-born, and send her for ever to a far country 
amongst strangers ; and she fought hard for two years 
longer to delay her daughter's going, with all manner 
of conditions and claims as to her future life. At 
length Henry of England put his foot down, and said 

1 In fact the Cortes of Aragon obstinately refused to swear allegiance 
to the Infanta Isabel as heiress when she went to Saragossa for the 
purpose in the autumn ; and she was kept there in great distress until 
her expected child should be born, which, if it were a male, would receive the 
oath of the Cortes. The anxiety and worry consequent upon this killed 
the Lifaiv.ii (Queen of Portugal) in the birth of her "Md Miguel in August. 


he would wait no longer ; and, worse still, he hinted 
that he would marry Arthur elsewhere, and throw his 
influence on the side of Philip of Burgundy, Ferdi- 
nand's son-in-law, in the struggle that was already 
looming on the horizon. Isabel and her daughter 
both knew that the latter was being sent to serve her 
father's political interests against her own sister and 
brother-in-law ; but, from her birth, Katharine had 
been brought up in her mother's atmosphere of 
uncompromising duty, surrounded by the ecstatic 
devotion which demanded serene personal sacrifice 
for higher ends; and, on the 2ist May 1501, the 
Princess of Aragon bade a last farewell to her mother 
in the elfin palace of the Alhambra, to see her no more 
in her life of martyrdom. 1 

Isabel's health was already breaking down with 
labour and trouble. Disappointment faced her from 
every side, and as tribulations fell, bringing her end 
nearer, and ever nearer, the stern religious zeal that 
inflamed her grew more eager to do its work in her 
day. She had never been a weakling, as we have 
seen. From her youth the persecution of infidels had 
been as grateful to her sense of duty, as the crushing 
of her worldly opponents had been satisfying to her 
love of undisputed dominion. In all Castile, no man 
but her confessor, and he at his peril, had dared to 
say her nay ; but at this juncture, when health was 
failing and her strength on the wane, there came to 
her tidings from across the sea that turned her heart 
to stone. Joan, her daughter, had always been some- 
what wayward and rebellious at the gloomy, devout 
tone that pervaded her mother's life, and Isabel had 
coerced her, on some occasions by forcible means, to 

1 Her story is told in * The Wives of Henry vin.,' by the present writer. 


take her part in the religious observances that occupied 
so large a share of attention at the Spanish court. 1 

Joan was young and bright : the life in her palace 
atTrussels was free from the gloom that hung over 
crusading Castile. Philip, her husband, cared for 
little but pleasure, and, though he was but a faithless 
husband, she was desperately in love with him. The 
new culture, moreover, which had even found ifs way, 
with Peter Martyr, into Isabel's court, had, in rich, 
prosperous Flanders, brought with it the freedom of 
thought and judgment that naturally came from the 
wider horizon of knowledge that men gained by it, 
and doubtless the change from the rigid and un- 
comfortable sanctimony of her native land to the 
gay and debonair society of Flanders had seemed to 
Joan like coming out of the darkness into the daylight. 
The Spanish priests who surrounded her sounded a 
note of warning to Isabel only a few months after 
Joan had arrived in Flanders. She was said to be 
lax^rn. Jier religious duties : her~old confessorT^who 
continued to write~toTier N fervent exhortations to pre- 
serve the faith as it was held in Spain, could get no 
reply to any of his letters, and he learnt that the 
gay Parisian priests, who flocked in the festive court, 
were leading Joan astray. 

Isabel sent a confidential priest, Friar Matienzo, to 
Flanders to examine and report on all these, and the 
like accusations. He saw Joan in August 1498, and 
found her, as he says, more handsome and buxom 
than ever, though far advanced in pregnancy ; but 
when he began to press her about religion, though 
she had plenty of reasons ready for what she did, she 
was as obstinate as her mother could be in holding 

1 ' Spanish State Papers.' Calendar, Supplement to vol. i. p. 405. 


her own way. She refused to confess at the bidding 
of the friar, to accept any confessor appointed by her 
mother, or to dismiss the French priests who were with 
her, and the friar sent the dire news to Isabel that her 
daughter had a hard heart and no true piety. 1 

This was bad enough, biifT~on~~tEe~ death of the 
Queen of Portugal, Isabel's eldest daughter and 
heiress, leaving her infant son as heir to the united 
crowns, Philip assumed for himself and his wife, Joan, 
the title of Prince and Princess of Castile. This was 
a warning for Ferdinand. 2 Already Philip and his 
father, the Emperor Maximilian, had shown that they 
had no idea of being the tools of Ferdinand's foreign 
policy, but_ if Philip of Burgundyjsucce^fully asserted 
Joan's right to succeed her mother as^ueen of Castile, 
then all Ferdinand's edifice of-kope fell-like a house of 
cardSj. for most of Spain would be governed by a for- 
eigner, with other ends and methods, and poor, isolated 
Aragon, by itself, must sink into insignificance. 

When the infant Portuguese heir, Miguel, died, 
early in 1499, the issue between Ferdinand and his 
son-in-law was joined. Isabel was visibly failing, and 
it was seen would die before her husband, in which 
case Joan would be Queen of Castile, in right of her 
mother. Philip, her husband, with the riches of 

1 * Calendar of Spanish State Papers,' Supplement to vol. i. ' Reports 
of the Sub-Prior of Santa Cruz to Isabel.' 

2 Ferdinand sent at once an envoy to remonstrate with Maximilian 
about his son's pretensions, but it was soon seen that Maximilian and his 
son were entirely in accord. Maximilian had the effrontery to claim the 
crown of Portugal in right of his mother, Dona Leonor of Portugal, and 
the crown of Castile for Juana, in preference to any daughter that might 
be born to her eldest sister, Isabel of Portugal. Ferdinand's enemy, the 
King of France, naturally supported these pretensions, which were really 
put forward at the time to thwart Ferdinand, whose plans in Italy were 
now seen to threaten the suzerainty of the empire over some of the Italian 



Flanders and Burgundy, and the prestige of the 
empire behind him, would come, perhaps in alliance 
with the French, and reduce greedy, ambitious 
Ferdinand to the petty crown of Aragon. Thence- 
forward it was war__to_the_Jknife between- father and 
_sorbiibJaw, who hated each other bitterly ; and Isabel's 
distrust of her daughter Joan grew deeper as religious 
zeal and ambition for a united Spain joined in adding 
fuel to the fire. With true statesmanship Isabel, under 
the great influence of Jimenez, clung more desperately 
than ever to the idea of a Spain absolutely united. 
Ferdinand's object in working for the consolidation of 
the realms had always been to forward the traditional 
objects of Aragon in humbling France, but those of 
Isabel and Jimenez were different. To them the 
spread of Christianity in the dark places of the earth, 
for the greater glory of Castile, was the end to be 
gained by a united Spain, and for that end it was 
necessary that the people should be unified in orthodoxy 
as well as in sovereignty. The cruel and disastrous 
expulsion of the Jews 1 served this object in Isabel's 
mind, though to Ferdinand its principal advantage 
was the filling of his war chest. The squandering of 
Castilian blood and treasure in Naples and Sicily was 
to Isabel and Jimenez a means of strengthening the 
Spaniards in their future Christianisation of north 
Africa, whilst to Ferdinand it meant the future 
domination of Italy, the Adriatic, and gaining the 
trade of the Levant for Barcelona. 

When Isabel and her husband went to Granada, 

1 As showing how unrelenting was Isabel's determination to exterminate 
infidelity in the whole Peninsula at the time, it may be mentioned that 
one of the conditions of the marriage of her eldest widowed daughter 
Isabel to the King of Portugal in 1497, was that every Jew should be 
expelled from Portugal. 


afteiL a long absence, in I4QQ, with the all-powerful 
Jimenez in his dirty, coarse, Franciscan gown, the 
difference of view of the husband and wife was again 
seen. The Moors of Granada had lived, since their 
capitulation, contented and prosperous in the enjoy- 
ment of toleration for their customs and faith under 
the sympathetic rule of the Christian governor, the 
Count of Tendilla, and the ardent, but always 
diplomatic, religious propaganda of Archbishop Tala- 
vera. If these two men had been allowed to continue 
their gentle system for a generation, there is no doubt 
that in time Granada would have become Christian 
without bloodshed, even if it had retained its Arabic 
speech. But Jimenez and the Queen could not wait, 
and determined upon methods? more rapid than those 
o Talavera In the seven years that had passed 
since Granada surrendered to Isabel, the crown of 
Spain had become much more powerful. The prestige 
and wealth of the sovereigns had been increased ; the 
discovery of America had considerably added to 
the importance of Castile, whilst the expulsion of 
the French from Naples had magnified Aragon. The 
Jews had been expelled from Spain, and, above all, 
the Inquisition, under the ruthlgss.JTQrqueinada, had 
raised the arrogance both of people and priests on 
the strength of the stainless orthodoxy of Spain. 

Jimenez doubtless felt that the circumstances 
demanded, or at least excused, stronger measures 
towards the Moslems in Granada. He soon per- 
suaded or stultified Talavera, and set about converting 
the Moors wholesale. Bribery, persuasion, flattery, 
were the first instruments employed, then threats and 
severity. Thousands of Moors were thus brought 
to baptism, ^with what sincerity may be supposed. 


Jimenez, a book lover himself, and afterwards the 
munificent inspirer of the polyglot Bible in his splendid 
new University of Alcala, committed the vandalism of 
burning the priceless Arabic manuscripts that had 
been collected by generations of scholars in Granada. 
Five thousand magnificently illuminated copies of the 
Koran were cast into the flames, whilst many thou- 
sands of ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic texts 
were sacrificed to the blind bigotry and haste of 
Jimenez and Isabel, who, even in learning, drew the 
line at Christian writings. From sacrificing books to 
sacrificing men was but a step for Jimenez. Isabel 
and her husband had sworn to allow full toleration 
to the Moors, but what were oaths of monarchs as 
against the presumed interests of the faith ? Soon 
the dungeon, the rack, and the thumbscrew came to 
fortify Jimenez's propaganda, and, though the Moslems 
bowed their heads before irresistible force, they cursed 
beneath their breath the day they had trusted to the 
oath of Christian sovereigns. 

The absence of Ferdinand and Isabel in Seville 
early in 1500, gave to Jimenez full freedom ; and soon 
the strained cord snapped, and the outraged Moors 
rebelled. Like a spark upon tinder an excess of in- 
solence on the part of one of Jimenez's myrmidons set 
all Granada in a blaze ; and the Primate was besieged 
in his palace, in imminent danger of death. He acted 
with stern courage even then, and refused to escape 
until Count de Tendilla with the soldiery dispersed the 
populace, and drove them into their own quarter, the 
Albaicin. There they were impregnable, and Tendilla, 
who was popular, with Talavera, even more beloved, 
took their lives in their hands, and unarmed and bare- 
headed entered the Albaicin to reassure the Moors. 


'We do not rise,' cried the latter, 'against their high- 
nesses, but only to defend their own signatures,' 1 and 
the beloved Archbishop and Governor, who left his 
own wife and children in the Albaicin as hostages of 
peace, soothed the Moors into quietude almost as 
soon as the storm had burst. 

The news flew rapidly to Seville, though Jimenez's 
version was not the first to arrive, and when he heard 
it, Ferdinand turned in anger to Isabel. 'See here, 
madam,' he said, handing her the paper, ' our victories, 
earned with so much Spanish blood, are thus ruined in 
a moment by the rashness and obstinacy of your 
Archbishop.' 2 Isabel herself wrote in grave sorrow to 
Jimenez, deploring that he had given her no proper 
explanation of what had happened ; and after sending 
his faithful vicar, Ruiz, to placate the monarchs some- 
what, the Archbishop himself appeared before the 
Queen and her husband. He was a man of tremendous 
power. Over Isabel his religious influence was great, 
and he proved now that he knew how to get at the 
weak side of Ferdinand. The Moors, he urged, had 
been converted by thousands ; and so far, his work had 
been successful. But rebellion on the part of subjects 
could never be condoned, no matter what the cause, 
and he appeajecL.LQ both sovereigns only -to- pardoa 
G ranada for its revolt on condition that every Moor 
should become a Christian or leave Spain. It was a 
sHameFuT violatidrnof a -sacred' pledge given only seven 
years before, but the rising of the Albaicin was the 
salve which Jimenez applied to the wounded honour 
of his Queen and King. 

1 Marmol Carbajal, ' Rebelion of Castigo de los Moros de Granada/ 
2 Marmol Carbajal. It will be recollected that Ferdinand had opposed 

Jimenez's appointment, as he wanted the archbishopric and primacy for 

his son. 


To Granada he returned triumphant, with the fell 
decree in the pocket of his shabby grey gown. More 
converts flocked in than ever when the alternative was 
presented to them. But up in the wild Alpujarras, the 
Moslem villagers and farmers looked with hatred and 
dismay at the lax townsmen abandoning Allah and his 
only prophet at the bidding of a ragged, sour-faced 
priest who broke his monarch's word. Like an avalanche 
the mountaineers swept down from their fastnesses upon 
Malaga, beating back the Christian force from Granada 
which came to rescue the city. But Ferdinand from 
Seville and the greatest soldier in Europe, Gonzalo de 
Cordova, hastened with an army to crush the desperate 
handful who had defied an empire ; and every Moor in 
arms, with many women and children, were pitilessly 
massacred. The repression was carried out with a 
savage ferocity and heartlessness only equalled by the 
despairing bravery of the insurgents ; but at last, by the 
end of 1 500, the few who were, still left unconverted were 
brought to their knees : all except the fierce moun- 
taineers of Ronda, a separate African tribe, notable 
even to-day for their lawlessness and indomitable in- 
dependence. From their savage fortress over the gorge 
they repelled one Christian force after another, until 
Ferdinand himself, with vengeance in his heart against 
all rebels, came with an army strong enough to crush 
them. A ruinous ransom and instant conversion were 
dictated to them, and confiscation and death, or depor- 
tation to Africa, for those who hesitated. 

Then came the turn of Granada itself. Jimenez and 
the new Inquisitor-General, Deza, the friend of Colon, 
demanded of Isabel and Ferdinand thejsstablishment 
of the Inquisition in the city. This was considered too 
flagrant a vT6Talion~oT^dt promises ; but what was re- 


fused in the letter was granted in the spirit ; and the 
Inquisition of Cordova was given power to extend its 
operations over Granada. What followed will always 
remain a blot upon the name of Isabel, who with Jimenez 
was principally responsible. In July 1501, she with her 
husband issued a decree forbidding the Moslem faith 
throughout the kingdom of Granada, on pain of death 
and confiscation ; and in February 1 502, the wicked 
edict went forth, ""that the entire Moslem popula- 
tion, men, women, and all children of over twelve years, 
should quit the realm within twojponths, whilst they 
were forbidden to go_to a Mahommedan country. 
Whither were the poor wretches to go but to Africa, 
opposite their own shores ? and some found their way 
there. This was a pretext a few months afterwards 
for prohibiting any one to emigrate from Spain at all ; 
and such Moors as still remained in Spain had only the 
alternatives of compulsory conversion or death. 1 By 
the end of 1502 not a single professed Moslem was left 
in Spain ; and Isabel, with saintly joy in her heart, 
could thank God that she had done her duty, and that 
in her own day the miracle had come to pass : the 
Jews expelled, the Moors ' converted,' the Inquisition 
scourging religious doubt with thongs of flame ; all 
men in very fear bowing their heads to one symbol and 
muttering one creed. This was indeed a victory to be 
proud of, and it made Spain what it was and what it is. 
To Isabel, in broken health and sad bereavement, 
it was the one ray of glory that gilded all her sorrow. 
Not the least of her troubles were those arising from 
her new domain across the sea. The impossible terms 
insisted upon by the discoverer had, as we have seen, 
been accepted with the greatest unwillingness by Fer- 

1 Ulick Burke, ' History of Spain.' Edited by Martin Hume. 


dinand, and probably with no intention of fulfilling 
them ; and whenjColon began to prepare his second 
expedition on a great scale, and thousands of adven- 
turers craved to accompany him, the King realised the 
danger that threatened his own plans in Europe if 
such an exodus continued ; and, at the same time, the 
tremendous power that this foreign sailor, now Admiral 
of the Indies and perpetual Spanish Viceroy, with 
riches untold, would hold in his hands. So the pro- 
cess of undermining him began. The Council of the 
Indies_was formed to control anjnatters_cormected _with 
the new domain, and the priests that ruled it obstructed 
and thwarted the Admiral at every turn. Isabel was 
mainly ^concerned in, winning her new subjects to 
CHristianity,;_and four friars went this time in the 
fleet to baptise. All of them but his friend Marchena 
were disloyal to the chief, and so were the crowd ot 
Aragonese who accompanied the expedition. Of the 
fifteen hundred adventurers who at last were selected, 
the great majority were greedy, reckless men whom 
the end of the Moorish war had left idle. 

At first the news from Colon on his second voyage 
were bright and hopeful. New lands, richer than ever, 
were discovered, and the prospects of coming wealth 
from this source, whilst delighting the King, only made 
the downfall of the Admiral more inevitable. But 
soon the merciless violence of the colonists provoked 
reprisals, andj^vej^LsJup that returned to Spain brought 
to__Isabel Jritter^ complaints oT'Colon's^ rapacity and 
tyranny ; whilst he, on his side, denounced the want 

those who were^ ragid^ turnmg- -a Jaeayj^n^nj&_^ hell 
At TelTgtrf the complaints, both of friars and laymen, 
against the high-handed Admiral of the Indies, became 


so violent that the sovereigns summoned him to Spain 
to give some explanation of the position. Colon saw 
the Queen at Burgos in 1496, and found her, at least, 
full of sympathy for him in his difficulties, and still 
firmly convinced that his golden hopes would be ful- 
filled. But the reaction had set in against the extra- 
vagant expectations aroused by his second expedition. 
The idlers, many of them, had come back disappointed, 
fever-stricken and empty-handed, and had much evil 
to say of the despotic Italian who had lorded over land 
granted by the Viceregent of Christ at Rome to the 
Spanish sovereigns ; and though Isabel herself, full 
of zeal for winning all Asia, as she thought, for the 
faith, did her best, the treasury was empty after the 
wars of Granada and Italy, and the heavy expense of 
the royal marriages then in progress. 

Amidst infinite obstruction from the Council of the 
Indies, and with little but frowning looks from Fer- 
dinand, Colon's third expedition was painfully and 
slowly fitted out. Few adventurers were anxious to 
~gcTnow ; and condemned criminals had to be enlisted 
for the service; but, withal, at length in May 1498, 
the Admiral sailed on his third voyage to his new 
land. When he arrived at his centre, the isle of 
Hispanola (Haiti), he found that a successful revolt 
of tHe lawless ruffians he had left behind had over- 
turned all semblance of order and discipline. The 
mines were unworked, the fields untilled, the natives 
atrociously tortured, and violence everywhere para- 
mount. Isabel's verbal instructions to the Admiral 
when she took leave of him had been precise. Her 
first object, she said, was to convert the Indians to 
Christianity, and to carry to them from Spain, not 
slavery and oppression, but the gentle, Christian, 


virtues. This doubtless to some extent was the desire 
of Colon himself, with his mystic devotional soul, 
though wholesale slavery of natives was part of his 
system, and he set about his work of the reconciliation 
of the Indians, whose horrible sufferings had driven 
them to armed opposition or flight. The undisciplined 
Spaniards had the whip hand, and the Admiral could 
only with much diplomacy, and perhaps unwise con- 
cessions to them, at length bring some semblance of 
peace and order to the colony. But mild as his 
mejthods were on the occasion, they were bitterly re- 
sented by arrogant Spaniards, indignant that a foreigner 
should wield sovereign powers over them in their own 
Queen's territory. 

Complaints and accusations more bitter than ever 
came to the King and Queen by every ship. The 
men who returned to Spain assured Ferdinand that 
Colon was sacrificing every interest to his own in- 
satiable greed ; and Isabel, favourably disposed as she 
was to the discoverer generally, at length lost patience 
when she found that he was shipping cargoes of 
Indians to Spain to be sold for slaves. To enslave 
infidels was not usually held to be wrong, and Colon 
considered it a legitimate source of profit : but Isabel's 
new subjects, mild and gentle as they were, had been 
looked upon by her as actual or potential Christians, 
and her indignation was great when she saw that 
Colon was treating them indifferently as chattels of his 
own. 1 At length it was decided to send an envoy to 
Hispanola^ with full powers to inquire into affairs and 
to take possession of all property and dispose of all 
persons in the new territories. The man chosen thus 
to exercise unrestrained power was Francisco de 

1 Las Casas. 


Bobadilla, probably a relative of the Queen's great 
friend, Beatriz de Bobadilla, Marchioness of Moya ; 
but in any case an intolerant tyrant, who considered it 
his business, as, by Ferdinand, it was probably intended 
to be, to degrade the Admiral in any case. With un- 
exampled insolence and harshness, he loaded the great 
explorer with manacles almost as soon as he arrived in 
Hispanola ; and then, whilst Colon Jay in prison, the 
whole of the charges against him were raked together, 
and, without any attempt to sift them judicially, were 
embodied in an act of accusation, and sent to Spain by 
the same caravel as that which carried in chains the 
exalted visionary, whose dream had enriched Castile 
with a new world. 

The shameful home-coming of Colon in December 
1 500, struck the imagination and shocked the conscience 
of the people ; and Isabel herself was one of the first 
to express her indignation. She and Ferdinand were 
at Granada at the time, and sent to the illustrious 
prisoner a dignified letter of regret, ordering him at 
once to be released, supplied with funds, and to present 
himself before them. The Queen received him in her 
palace of the Alhambra, and as he stood before his 
sovereign, with his bared white head bowed in grief 
and shame for the insult that had eaten into his very 
soul, 1 Isabel lost her usual calm serenity and wept, 
whereupon the Admiral himself broke down, and he 
cast himself at the foot of the throne that he had so 
nobly endowed. The title of Admiral was restored 
to him : though in his stead as Viceroy was sent out 
Nicolas de Ovando, with thirty-two vessels and a 

1 Colon's son, Ferdinand, says that he ordered his fetters to be buried 
with him : but this does not appear to have been done. His bitter indig- 
nation is expressed by his son, Fernando, and in Colon's * Letter to the 


great company of gentlemen. But disaster overtook 
the fleet ; and, though Ovando arrived, most of the 
ships and men were lost, and thenceforward Isabel's 
zeal for maritime adventure grew cooler. 

The cost and drain of men for the enterprise had 
been very great. The fame of the discovery had rung 
through the world, and had exalted Isabel and Castile 
as they had never been exalted before, but up to this 
period the returns in money had been insignificant, 
whilst the unsettling influence of the adventure upon 
the nation at large had been very injurious. Ferdi- 
nand, for reasons already explained, always regarded 
it coldly ; and the loss of Ovando's fleet seemed to 
prove him right. When, therefore, Colon begged for 
the Queen's aid to sail with afburth expeditioji early 
in 1502, she was unwilling to ITelpTtRough she was 
sufficiently "his friend stuT to prevent others from 
hindering him ; and he sailed for the last time in 
March 1502, to see his patroness no more; for when 
he came kicl^-two years and nine months later, broken 
wttTTlnjustice T and with death^ in Tiis^Heart, Isabel the 
)*athoiic jvasjiead. 

Even greater^sorrows than those _of . A nicrica came 
to Isabel in her last_years, troubles that stabbed her 
to' the very heart, and from which one of the great 
tragedies of history grew. From Flanders came tid- 
ings of grave import for the future of the edifice so 
laboriously reared by Ferdinand and Isabel. The 
heiress of Spain, the Archduchess Joan, with her 
cynical, evil-minded husband, Philip the Handsome, 
were daily drifting further away from the influence of 
Joan's parents. Dark whispers of religious back- 
sliding on the part of the Court of Brussels were rife 
in the grim circle of friars and devotees that accom- 


panied Isabel. It was said that Joan and her husband 
openly slighted the rigid observance of religious form 
considered essential in Spain, and that the freedom of 
thought and speech common in Flanders was more to 
the taste of Joan than the terror-stricken devotion of 
her Inquisition-ridden native land. Isabel had dedi-_ 
cated her_strenuous life and vast ahi'Tify In the iinifica-_ 
tion of the faith in Spain.^ She had connived at cruelty 
unfathomable, and had exterminated whole races of 
her subjects with that sole object. Throughout her 
realms and those of her husband no heresy dared now 
raise its head, or even whisper doubt ; and the thought 
that free-thinking, mocking Burgundian Philip, with 
his submissive wife, so alienated from her own people 
that she refused to send a message of loving greeting 
to her mother, should come and work their will upon 
the sacred soil of Castile, must have been torture to 
Isabel. To Ferdinand it must have been as bad ; for 
it touched him, too, in his tenderest part. His life 
dream had been to realise the ambitions of Aragon. 
For that he had plotted, lied, and cheated ; for that 
he had plundered his subjects, kept his realms at war, 
bartered his children and usurped his cousin's throne.^ 
But it would be all useless if Castile slipped through 
his fingers when his wife died, and his deadly enemy, 
his son-in-law, became king of Castile in right of his 
wife Joan. 

The difficulty became more acute when Joan gave 
birth to her son at Ghent in February 1500, because, 
according "to the law oTsuccession, the child christened 
Charles, a name unheard of in Spain^before, would 
inrierit"not Castile and Leon alone, but Aragon as 
well, with Flanders, Burgundy, Artois, Luxembourg, 
the Aragonese kingdoms in Italy, and, worst of all, 


Austria and the empire. Where would the interests 
of Aragon, nay, even of Spain, be amongst such 
world-wide dominions ; and how could such a potentate 
devote himself either to aggrandising Aragon, or to 
carrying the Cross into the dark places of Moorish 
Africa ? What added to the bitterness in Ferdinand's 
case was, that Philip was even now intriguing actively 
with the Kings of France, Portugal, and England 
against Aragon ; and was, with vain pretexts, evading 
the pressing invitations of his wife's parents to bring 
her to Spain, to receive with him the oath of allegiance 
as heirs of the realms. 

It was necessary somehow to conciliate Philip and 
Joan before they went too far ; for Philip's plan, to 
marry the infant Prince Charles to a French princess, 
struck at the very root of Ferdinand's policy. Envoy 
after envoy was sent to Flanders to expedite the 
coming of Philip and Joan, if possible, with the infant 
Charles ; hut the t _Archduke jiad_no intention of 
becoming the tool- o his astute father-in-law, and was 
determined to be quite secure before he placed himself 
in his power. He was anxious enough to obtain 
^recognition as heir of Castile jointly with his wife, but 
desired to leave Spain immediately afterwards, which 
did not suit Ferdinand, who wished to have time to 
influence him towards his policy, and alienate him 
from his Flemish and French favourites. 1 Joan 
herself flatly refused to come without her husband ; of 
whom, with ample reason, she was violently jealous ; 
and neither would allow the infant Charles to come 
without them. At length, after Joan had been 
delivered of her third child, a daughter named Isabel, the 


* Zurita .v Rodriguez Villa, 'Juana la Loca,' ancK' Calericfer of Spanish 
S^ate Papers, 3 Supplement to Vol. i. 


prayers and promises of Queen Isabel and her husband 
prevailed, and the Archduke and Archduchess con- 
sented to come to Spain. But it was under conditions 
that turned the heart of Ferdinand more than ever 
against his son-in-law. They would travel to Spain 
through France, and ratify in Paris the betrothal of 
their one-year old son Charles, heir of Spain, Flanders, 
and the empire, with Claude of France, child of Louis 
xn. Philip went out of his way during the sumptuous 
reception in Paris to show his submission to the King 
of France ; and even did homage to him as Count of 
Flanders ; but Joan, mindful for once, at least, that she 
belonged to the house of Aragon, and was heiress of 
Spain, refused all tokens implying her subservience. 

On the ;th May 1502, Joan and her husband entered 
the imperial city of Toledo with all the ceremony that 
Castile could supply. At the door of the great hall in 
the Alcazar, Isabel stood to receive her heirs. Both 
knelt before her and tried to kiss her hand, but the 
Queen raised them, and embracing her daughter, 
carried her off to her private chamber. Soon after- 
wards the Archduchess and her husband took the oath 
as heirs of Castile in the vast Gothic Cathedral ; and 
the splendid festivities to celebrate the event were 
hardly begun before another trouble came in the 
announcement of the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, 
nusband^of Isabel's youngest daughter, Katharine. 
Trie event immediately changed the aspect of the 
game. The next heir of England was a boy of 
eleven, who might be married to a French princess, 
and thus cause one other blow to Ferdinand's carefully 
arranged schemes. This made it more necessary than 
ever that Joan and Philip should be brought into 
entire obedience to Spanish views. War broke out 


between France and Spain at once, and strenuous 
efforts were made by Ferdinand to expel from Spain 
the councillors of Philip, who were known to be in the 
French interest. 1 The Archduchess and her husband 
were then taken to Aragon, to receive the homage of 
the Cortes there as heirs of Ferdinand, and then 
Philip, in spite of all remonstrance, hurried back 
again to his own country. Isabel gravely took her 
son-in-law to task when he announced his intention to 
return to Flanders by land through France whilst 
Spain was at war. It was, she said, his duty to 
recollect, moreover, that he was, in right of his wife, 
heir to one of the greatest thrones in the world, and 
should stay at least long enough in the country to 
know the people and their language and customs. To 
her entreaties the Archduchess, now far advanced in 
pregnancy, and unable to travel, added her prayers 
and tears. But all in vain ; Philip, against the 
respectful protest even of the Cortes, would go, and 
insisted upon travelling through France, the enemy of 
Spain. 2 So, almost in flight, Philip of Burgundy 
crossed the frontiers of his father-in-law, leaving his 
wife Joan and their unborn child in Castile, in 
December 1502. 

Never in their lives had Ferdinand and Isabel 
suffered such a rebuff as this. Thal-the ^man, who on 
their death would succeed them, was a free-living 
^ cared nothing for Spain, to 

promote whose glory they had lived and laboured so 

1 Especially the Archbishop of Besangon, whose influence over Philip 
was great. Philip would not let him go ; but he died suddenly directly 
afterwards, doubtless of poison. Philip's hurry to get away from Spain 
was attributed to his own fears of poison. 

2 A copy of their urgent remonstrance from Toledo is in MS. in the 
Royal Academy of History, Madrid. 


hard, was bitter enough for them. But that he should 
be so lost to all duty and respect towards them and to 
their country as to leave them thus, to rejoice with the 
enemy in arms against them, convinced them that 
under him and his wife Spain and the faith had 
nothing to expect but neglect and sacrifice for other 
interests. Isabel's frequent conversations with her 
daughter Joan, during the months she had been in 
Spain, had more than confirmed the worst fears she 
had formed from the reports sent to her from Flanders. 
Joan, though of course a Catholic, obstinately refused 
to conform to the rigid ritual of Castile ; and, both in 
acts and words, showed a strange disregard of, and, 
indeed, captious resistance to, her mother's wishes. 
She was inconstant and fickle ; sometimes determined, 
notwithstanding her condition, to go and rejoin her 
husband, sometimes docile and amiable. 

It had become evident to Isabel and her husband 
not many weeks after Joan and Philip's arrival, that 
these were no fit successors to continue the policy that 
was to make Spain the mistress of the world and the 
arbiter of the faith ; and to the Cortes of Toledo, 
which took the oath of allegiance to Philip and his 
wife, it was secretly intimated that the Queen wished 
that, ' if, when the Queen died, Juana was absent from 
the realms, or, after having come to them, should be 
obliged to leave them again, or that, although present, 
she might not choose, or might not be able to reign and 
govern,' 1 Ferdinand should rule Castile in her name. 
This was a serious departure both from strict legality 
and from usage, and has been considered by recent 
commentators to indicate that, even thus early, Isabel 
wished to exclude her daughter from the throne, either 

1 ' Calendar of Spanish State Papers,' Supplement to vols. i and ii. 



for heresy or madness, or with that pretext. That 
Joan was hysterical, obstinate, and unstable, is evident 
from 'all contemporary testimony, and that she defied 
her mother in her own realm is clear from what 
followed ; but it seems unnecessary to seek to draw 
from these facts the deduction that Isabel at this 
juncture meant to disinherit her daughter in any case. 
Philip's flagrant flouting of what Isabel and her 
husband considered the best interests of Spain, and 
his laxity in religion, as understood in Castile, 
furnished ample reason for the desire on the part 
of Isabel, when she felt her health failing, to ensure, so 
far as she could do it, that the policy inaugurated by 
her and her husband should be continued by him after 
her death, instead of allowing Spain to be handed over 
by an absentee prince to a Flemish viceroy. The 
suggestion that Joan might not be able to govern, even 
if she was in Spain, was not unnatural, considering 
that her conduct, as reported to Isabel from Flanders, 
had certainly been strangely inconsistent, whilst her 
behaviour since she had arrived in Spain had not 
mended matters. 1 

J^oan gave biptb-4jr_ March 1503 at Alcala de 
He'nares to a son, who, in after years, became the 
Emperor Ferdinand \ and immediately after trie 
christening in Toledo Cathedral the Archduchess 
declared that she would stay in Spain no longer, 
but would join her husband in Flanders. Isabel 
humoured her as best she could, persuading her to 
accompany her from Alcala to Segovia, on the pretext 

1 Sandoval, in his ' Historia de Carlos v.,' gives a glowing account of 
the festivities that followed, and especially of a ridiculously fulsome 
sermon preached by the Bishop of Malaga on the occasion, laying quite 
a malicious emphasis upon poor Joan's devotion to what was called in 
Spain ' Christianity, 3 or rather the strict Catholic ritual. 


that it would be more easy to arrange there the sea 
voyage from Laredo. The Princess was held in 
semi-restraint under various excuses for a time, but 
at last she extracted from her mother a promise that 
she would let her go by sea (but not through France, 
with which they were still at war), when the weather 
should be fair, for it was still almost winter. 

From Segovia the Queen took her daughter to Medina 
del Campo, as she said, to be nearer the sea ; but there 
the worry of the situation threw Isabel into some sort 
of apoplectic fit, and for a time her life was despaired 
of. Ferdinand was with his successful army on the 
French frontier ; and the physicians, in their reports to 
him of his wife's illness, attribute the attacks she 
suffered entirely to the life that Joan was leading her. 
' The disposition of the Princess is such, that not only 
must it cause distress to those who love and value her 
so dearly, but even to a perfect stranger. She sleeps 
badly, eats little, and sometimes not at all, and she is 
very sad and thin. Sometimes she will not speak, and 
in this, and in some of her actions, which are as if she 
were distraught, her infirmity is much advanced. She 
will only take remedies either by entreaty and per- 
suasion, or out of fear, for any attempt at force 
produces such a crisis that no one likes or dares to 
provoke it.' 1 This trouble, the doctor adds, together 
with the usual constant worries of government, is 
breaking the Queen down entirely, and something 
must be done. The Secretary, Conchillos, writing at 
the same time, gives the same testimony. ' The 
Queen,' he says, 'is better, but in great tribula- 

1 These interesting letters are in MS. in the Royal Academy of History, 
Madrid, An. Some of them are quoted by Rodriguez Villa in his ' Dona 
Juafia la Loca.' 


tion and fatigue with this Princess, God pardon 

Isabel soon had to travel to Segovia, after praying 
her daughter not to leave Medina until her father 
returned. But she took care to give secret instruc- 
tions to the Bishop of Cordova, who had charge of 
Joan, ' to detain her, if she tried to get away, as 
gently and kindly as possible.' Nothing, however, 
short of force would suffice to prevent Joan from 
joining her husband, who, on his side from Flanders, 
constantly urged her coming, and protested against 
delay. 2 At last Joan became so clamorous that a 
message was sent to her from her mother, saying 
that the King and herself were coming to see her 
at Medina, and ordering her not to attempt to leave 
until they arrived. Joan seems to have taken fright 
at this, and, horses being denied her, she attempted 
to escape alone and on foot from the great castle of 
La Mota, where she was lodged. Finding when she 
arrived at the outer moat that the gates were shut 
against her by the Bishop of Cordova, she fell into 
a frenzy and refused to move from the barrier where 
she was stayed. All that day and night, in the bitter 
cold of late autumn, the princess remained immovable 
in the open, deaf to all remonstrance and entreaty, 
refusing even to allow a screen of cloth to be hung 
for her shelter. Isabel was gravely ill at Segovia, 
forty miles away, but she instantly sent Joan's uncle, 
Enriquez, to pacify the princess and persuade her at 
least to go to her rooms again. But neither he nor 
the powerful Jimenez, Cardinal Primate of Spain, 

1 Royal Academy of History, Madrid, A 9, and Rodriguez Villa. 

2 He even had a letter written, as if by his child Charles of three years 
old, to King Ferdinand praying that his mamma might be allowed to 
come home to them. 


could move her, and at last Isabel, sick as she was, 
had to travel to Medina, and prevailed upon her 
daughter again to enter the castle, where she remained 
on the assurance of the Queen that she should go 
and rejoin her husband in Flanders when the King 

In the meanwhile peace was made with France, 
and Isabel and her husband tried their hardest to 
persuade Philip to send the infant Charles to Spain 
to replace his mother. Promise after promise was 
given that Charles should go to his grandparents ; 
but Philip had no intention of entrusting his heir to 
Ferdinand's tender mercies, and all the promises were 
broken. Isabel's death was seen to be approaching, 
and already a strong Castilian party, jealous of Aragon 
and of the old King, was looking towards Isabel's 
heiress in Flanders and drifting away from Ferdinand. 
The detention of Joan against her will at Medina was 
regarded sourly by Castilians generally, and at length 
the scandal had to be ended. In March 1504, the 
princess therefore was allowed to leave her place of 
detention at Medina, and after two months further 
delay in Laredo, took ship for Flanders, to see her 
mother no more. 

No sooner was she safe in her husband's territory 
than the plot that had long been hatching against 
her father came to a head. In September 1504 
Philip, his father Maximilian, Louis XIL, and a little 
later the Pope, joined in a series of leagues, from 
which Ferdinand was pointedly excluded. It was 
intended as a notice to Ferdinand, that when his 
wife died he would no longer be King of Spain, 
but only King of Aragon, unable to hold what he 
had grasped ; and, though the wily King fell ill and 


was like to die at the news, he was not beaten yet, 
and in time to come was more than a match for all 
his enemies. But Isabel was sick unto death. A 
^united orthodox Spain had been her life's ideal. 
WitrT^labour untiring " sEe" " and her husband had 
attained it, and now she saw the imminent ruin of 
her work~^th rough the undutifulness of her daughter's 
foreign husband. It was no fault of Isabel's, for she 
had been single-minded in her aims ; but Ferdinand 
h~ad been brought to this pass by his own over- 
reaching cleverness. In yoking stronger powers than 
himself to his car he had enlisted forces that he 
could not control, and which were now pulling a 
different way from that in which he wanted to go. 
Those that he depended upon to be his prime instru- 
ments had been removed by death, whilst those who 
he had hoped to make subsidiary factors in his favour 
were now principals and against him. 

The accumulating troubles at length, in the autumn 
of 1504, threw Isabel into a tertian fever, which was 
aggravated by the fact that Ferdinand, being also 
ill in bed, could not visit his wife. Isabel's anxiety 
for her husband was pitiable to witness ; and though 
her physicians assured her that he was in no danger, his 
absence from her bedside increased the fever and 
threw her into delirium. Symptoms of dropsy, and 
probably diabetes, since constant insatiable thirst 
and swelling of the limbs are mentioned as symptoms, 
ensued, and for three months the Queen lay gradually 
growing worse and worse. Rogations for her recovery 
were offered up in every church in Castile, but by 
her own wish, after a time, this was discontinued, and 
the heroic Queen, strong to the last, faced death un- 
dismayed, confident that she had done her best, yet 


humble and contrite. When the extreme unction was 
to be administered she exhibited a curious instance of 
her severe modesty, almost prudery, by refusing to 
allow even her foot to be uncovered to receive the 
sacred oil, which was applied to the silken stocking 
that covered the limb instead of to the flesh. 

To the last she was determined that, if she could 
prevent it, Joan and her husband should not rule in 
Castile as absentee sovereigns whilst Ferdinand lived. 
Her will, which was signed in October, is a notable 
document, showing some of Isabel's strongest char- 
acteristics. She would be buried very simply, and 
without the usual royal mourning, in the city of her 
greatest glory, the peerless Granada ; ' but if the 
King, my lord,' desires to be buried elsewhere, then 
her body was to be laid by the side of his. Her 
debts were to be paid, and many alms distributed 
and religious benefactions founded, and all her jewels 
were to be given to Ferdinand, * that they may serve 
as witness of the love I have ever borne him, and 
remind him that I await him in a better world, and 
so that with this memory he may the more holily 
and justly live.' What does not seem so saintly a 
provision was, that all the royal grants she had given, 
except those to her favourite Beatriz de Bobadilla, 
were cancelled on her death. With a firm hand she 
signed this will later in October 1504, royiding_m 
it also that her daughter loan should succeed her 
QJL-thg throne of Castile.,: 1 but before she died, almost 
indeed in the last act of her life, her fears for Spain 

1 When the will was signed Isabel called her husband to her bedside, 
and with tears made him swear that, neither by a second marriage nor 
otherwise, would he try to deprive Joan of the crown. She fell back then 
prostrate and was thought to be dead, but afterwards revived. 


conquered her love for her daughter. In a codicil 
signed on the 23rd November, three days before her 
death, she left to Ferdinand the governorship of 
Castile in the name of her daughter Joan ; and 
enjoined him solemnly to cause the Indians of 
America to be brought to the faith gently and 
kindly, and their oppression to be redressed. 

With trembling hands and streaming eyes she 
handed the codicil to Jimenez, solemnly entrusting 
him with the fulfilment of all her wishes, a trust 
which he obeyed far better than did her husband, 
and then Isabel the Catholic had done with the 
world. Thenceforward she was serene ; eyewitnesses 
say as beautiful as in youth. * Do not weep,' she 
said to her attendants, ' for the loss of my body ; rather 
pray for the gain of my soul.' 

And so at the hour of noon, on the 26th November 
1504, the greatest of Spanish queens gently 
breathed her last, a dignified, devout, great lady to 
the end. Days afterwards, when Ferdinand was busy 
plotting how he could oust his daughter from her 
heritage, the body of Isabel was carried across bleak 
Castile, with soaring crucifixes and swinging censers, 
by a great company of churchmen to far away 
Granada, there to lay for all time to come, under 
the shadow of the red palace that she had won for 
the cross. As the velvet hearse with the body of 
the Queen of Castile, dressed in death as a Franciscan 
nun, wound its way over the land she had made great, 
the wildest tempest in the memory of man roared her 
requiem. Earthquake, flood and hurricane, scoured 
the way by which the corpse was borne : skies of ink 
by night and day for all that three weeks' pilgrimage 
lowered over the affrighted folk that accompanied 


the bier, convinced that heaven itself was muttering 
mourning for the mighty dead. But it is related that 
when at last Granada was reached, and the Christian 
mosque received the corpse of its conqueror, the 
^Torious sun burst out at its brightest for the first 
time, and all the vega smiled under a stainless sky. 

Isabel the Catholic was a great queen and a good 
woman, because her aims were high. She was not 
tender, or gentle, or what we should now call 
womanly. If she had been, she would not have 
made Castile one of the greatest powers in Europe 
in her reign of thirty years. She was not scrupulous, 
or she would not have been so easily persuaded to 
displace her niece the Beltraneja, She was not tender- 
hearted, or she would not have looted unmoved upon 
tiielnassacre or expulsion, in circumstances of atrocious 
inhumanity, of Jews and Moors, to whom she broke 
her solemn oath upon a weak pretext. She was 
none of these pleasant things; nor was she the 
sweet, saintly housewife she is usually represented. 
If she had been, she would not have been Isabel the 
Catholic one of the strongest personalities, and 
probably the greatest woman ruler the world ever 
saw : a woman whose virtue slander itself never 
dared to attack ; whose saintly devotion to her faith 
blinded her eyes to human things, and whose anxiety 
to please the God of mercy made her merciless to 
those she thought His enemies. 




ON the same day (26th November 1504) that Isabel 
died, Ferdinand, with sorrow-stricken face, and tears 
coursing down his cheeks, sallied from the palace of 
Medina del Campo, and upon a platform hastily raised 
in the great square of the town, proclaimed his daughter 
Joan Queen of Castile, with the usual ceremony of 
hoisting pennons and the crying of heralds : ' Castile, 
Castile, for our sovereign lady Queen Joan.' Then 
the clause of the dead Queen's will was read, giving to 
Ferdinand power to act as King of Castile whenever 
Joan was absent from Spain, or was unable or un- 
willing to govern, and enjoining upon Joan and her 
husband obedience and submission to Ferdinand. 
Castile was in a ferment ; for all men knew that the 
death of the Queen opened infinite possibilities of 
change. The Castilian nobles, so long humbled by 
Isabel, dared again to hope that better times for them 
might come in the contending interests around the 
throne ; and there were not a few, especially Aragonese, 
that counselled Ferdinand to claim the throne of 
Castile for himself 1 by right of descent, instead of 
governing in his daughter's name. 

But Ferdinand's way was always a tortuous one, and 
the letters from him the same night that carried to 
Flanders the news of his wife's death were addressed 
to ( Joan and Philip, by the grace of God Sovereigns 

1 Zurita, ' Anales de Aragon.' 



of Castile, Leon, Granada, Princes of Aragon, etc., 
etc'; whilst every city m~ the realms was informed 
that henceforward the title of King of Castile would 
be borne no more by Ferdinand, but only that of 
Administrator for Joan. 1 The step was profoundly 
diplomatic, for all Europe and half Spain was dis- 
trustful of Ferdinand, and the open usurpation of 
Castile would have been forcibly resisted. And yet, 
as we shall see, he intended to rule Castile ; and in the 
end had his way. Philip and Joan, in reply to their 
loving father, declined to commit themselves as to 
Ferdinand's proceedings, and announced their coming 
to take possession of their realm of Castile. They 
were equally cool to Ferdinand's envoy, Fonseca, 
Bishop of Cordova, whom Joan had no reason to love. 
In the meanwhile, Cortes was convoked at Toro 
(January 1505) in the name of Joan ; and there Ferdi- 
nand played his first card, by claiming, under the 
clause in Isabel's will, the right to govern Castile until 
Joan should be present and demonstrate her fitness to 
rule. 2 The nobles of Castile, already jealous of 
Aragon, were determined to resist this, though the 

1 A full account of the progress of events from day to day at the time is 
given in Documents Ineditos, vol 18. 

2 Ferdinand, after the Cortes had taken the oath of allegiance, addressed 
to them a document (quoted in full by Zurita) saying that when Queen 
Isabel provided in her will for the case of Joan's incapacity to rule, she 
had not gone further into particulars out of consideration for her daughter ; 
although the latter had, whilst she was in Spain, shown signs of mental 
disturbance. The time had now come, said Ferdinand, to inform the 
Cortes in strict secrecy of the real state of affairs. Since Joan's return to 
Flanders reports from Ferdinand's agents, and from Philip himself, which 
were exhibited to the Cortes, said that her malady had increased, and that 
her state was such that the case foreseen by Queen Isabel in her will had 
now arrived. The Cortes, after much deliberation and against the nobles, 
led by the Duke of Najera, thereupon decided to acknowledge Ferdinand 
as ruler owing to the incapacity of Joan. 


Cortes agreed ; and Juan Manuel, the most notable 
diplomatist in Castile, descended from the royal house, 
and Ferdinand's deadly enemy, was sent to Philip, 
over whom his influence was complete, as the envoy of 
the Castilian nobles ; thenceforward from Flanders to 
animate and direct the diplomatic campaign against 

The situation thus became daily more strained. 
Ferdinand's confidential agents endeavoured to sow 
discord between Joan and her husband, not a difficult 
matter ; and on one occasion the Queen, in a fit of 
jealousy, was persuaded by the Aragonese Secretary 
Conchillos to sign a letter approving of her father's 
acts. The messenger to whom it was entrusted betrayed 
it to Philip, and Conchillos was cast into a dungeon ; 
all Spaniards were warned away from Court, and Joan 
completely isolated, even from her chaplain. Thinking 
that in the palace of Brussels Joan was too easy of 
access, Philip arranged that she should be secretly 
removed. Whilst the Burgomaster and Councillors 
were discussing at dead of night in the palace the de- 
tails of the secret flitting, poor Joan herself learnt what 
was in the wind ; and being denied an interview with the 
Spanish bishop who attended her, she peremptorily 
summoned the Prince of Chimay. He dared not enter 
her chamber alone ; but accompanied by another courtier 
he obeyed the Queen's summons. They found her in 
a violent passion, and with difficulty escaped personal 
attack ; with a result that, though the Queen was not 
immediately removed, she was thenceforward kept 
strictly guarded in her chambers, a prisoner. l 

When news came of the decision of the Cortes of 
Toro that Joan was unfit to rul^ Philip prevailed upon 

1 Zurita, ' Anales de Aragon. 3 


his wife to sign a remarkable letter l for publication in 
Castile. ' Since they want in Castile to make out that I am 
not in my right mind, it is only meet that I should come 
to my senses again, somewhat ; though I ought not to 
wonder that they raise false testimony against me, since 
they did so against our Lord. But, since the thing has 
been done so maliciously, and at such a time, I bid you 
(M. de Vere) speak to my father the king on my behalf, 
for those who say this of me are acting not only against 
me but against him ; and people say that he is glad of 
it, so as to have the government of Castile, though I 
do not believe it, as the King is so great and catholic 
a sovereign and I his dutiful daughter. I know well 
that the King my Lord (i.e. Philip) wrote thither com- 
plaining of me in some respect ; but such a thing should 
not go beyond father and children ! especially as, if I 
did fly into passions and failed to keep up my proper 
dignity, it is well known that the only cause of my 
doing so was jealousy. I am not alone in feeling this 
passion; for my mother, great and excellent person as she 
was, was also jealous ; but she got over it in time, and 
so, please God, shall I. Tell everybody there (i.e in 
Castile) .... that, even if I was in the state that my 
enemies would wish me to be, I would not deprive the 
King, my husband, of the government of the realms, 
and of all the world if it were mine to give.' . . . . 
Brussels, 3rd May 1505.' 

We can see here, and in the several reports sent, that 
Joan had little or no control over herself. In the con- 
flict, daily growing more bitter, between her husband 
and her father, she swayed from one side to another 
according to the influences brought to bear upon her. 

1 Discovered in the Alburquerque archives by Sr. Rodriguez Villa, and 
published by him in his ' Dona Juana La Loca.' 


Her gusts of jealous rage and frenzied violence gave to 
both sides the excuse of calling her mad when it suited 
them to do so, or to declare that such temporary fits 
were compatible with general sanity when they wanted 
her sane. Joan's affection for her husband was fierce, 
and monopolous, and his iufluence over her was great, 
especially when he appealed to her pride and her rights 
as Queen of Castile, but her sense of filial duty was 
also high ; and whenever she understood that a measure 
was intended to be against her father, she indignantly 
refused to countenance it. Ferdinand knew that the 
King of France had been enlisted by Philip and 
Maximilian against him ; and that an army was being 
mustered in Flanders ; whilst a project was on foot for 
^Philip to come to Castile without "Joan. TJiisJie was 
determined to prevent ; and warned his son-in-law thiat 
"tie would not be allowed to act as King without "his 
wife. To this warning" Philip retorted by ordering his 
father-in-law to leave Castile, and return to his own 
realm of Aragon. 

In this contest poor hysterical Joan was but a cypher, 
wifH her gusts of jealous passion and her lack of fixed 
resolution. When she had arrived in Flanders after 
her detention in Spain, she had discovered that her 
husband, whose coolness she noted from the first, was 
carrying on a liaison with a lady of the court. We are 
told that she sought out the lady in a raving fury and 
seriously injured her ; as well as causing all her beauti- 
ful hair, of which she was proud, to be cut off close to 
the scalp. This lecl to a violent scene between Philip 
and Joan, in which not only hard words but hard blows 
were exchanged ; and Joan took to her bed, seriously 
ill both in body and mind. These scenes continued at 

intervals, either with or without good reason, but with 



the natural result that Philip in his relations with his 
father-in-law acted almost independently of his wife ; 
who, as Ferdinand afterwards said, was really a good 
dutiful daughter, proud of Spain and her people. 

Ferdinand had at his side at this juncture the great 
Cardinal Jimenez. The stern Franciscan had been no 
friend of the King, who had opposed his appointment 
as primate ; but he was a patriotic Spaniard, and could 
not fail to see that if Flemish Philip was paramount in 
Spain, the work of Isabel for the faith would be in peril. 
Ferdinand, he knew, was an able and experienced ruler, 
who would not greatly change the existing system ; 
and he threw all his powerful influence on the side of 
an arrangement that might leave Ferdinand real power 
in Castile, without entirely alienating Philip. Above 
all, Jimenez was determined to prevent the ambitious 
Castilian nobles from again dominating the government ; 
which they hoped to do if an inexperienced foreigner 
like Philip took the reins. It was, indeed, quite as 
much a struggle between Ferdinand and Jimenez and 
the~Castilian nobles, as between Ferdinand and hk son- 
in-law. But Jimenez's patriotic efforts met with little 
Success, so far as Philip was concerned; and, in the 
meantime, Ferdinand, whilst ostensibly solacing himself 
in hunting, was quietly planning a characteristic stroke 
at his enemy. 

He was fifty-five years of age and still robust, and 
he bethought himself that he might yet win the game 
by a second marriage. It was almost sacrilege to 
contemplate such a thing in the circumstances ; but^ 
to Ferdinand of Aragon any crooked way was straight 
that led him to his goal. So he sent his natural son, 
Hugo de Cardona, to "propose secretly to the King of 
Portugal that the forgotten Beltraneja should leave 


her convent and become Queen of Aragon, joining her 
claims to Castile to those of Ferdinand and ousting 
Joan and Philip. 1 It wa's a wicked cynical idea, for 
it made Isabel a usurper ; but neither the King of 
Portugal nor his cousin, the Beltraneja, would have 
anything to say to it ; so Ferdinand turned towards a 
solution, which, if not quite so iniquitous morally, was 
even more inimical to the interest of Spain as a nation. 
T^is^was nothing less than to outbid Philip for the^ 
friendship of the King of France, upon which he 
mainly depended to frustrate his father-in-law's plans. 
Ferdinand had broken all his former covenants with 
Louis xii. The French had been turned out of 
Naples, and the great Gonzalo de Cordova was there 
as Ferdinand's viceroy. He was a Castilian ; and 
already Ferdinand's spies had reported that the Cas- 
tilian nobles, in union with Philip and France, were 
tampering with Cordova's loyalty and endeavouring 
to establish, the claim of Castile, instead of Aragon, to 
Naples. Ferdinand, with what sincerity may be sup- 
posed, rapidly patched up an alliance with Louis xii., 
hyiwhich the widowed King of Aragon was to marry 
the niece of the King of France^ Germaine de Foix, a 
spoiled and petted young beauty of twenty-one. Any 
heirs of the marriage were to inherit Aragon, Sicily, 
and Naples ; but in the case of no children being left, 
Naples was to be divided between France and Aragon ; 

1 It has already been mentioned on page 26 that, according to Galindez, 
a will of Henry IV. leaving the crown of Castile to the Beltraneja had 
come into Ferdinand's possession on Isabel's death. The authority for 
the statement that Ferdinand offered marriage to the Beltraneja at this 
juncture is principally Zurita, ' Anales de Aragon,' and it was adopted by 
Mariana and later historians. Mr. Prescott scornfully rejects the whole 
story, without, as it seems to me, any reason whatever for doing so, except 
that it tells against Ferdinand's character. It is surely too late in the 
day to hope to save that. 


great concessions were made at once to the French in 
Naples, and a million gold crowns were to be paid by 
Ferdinand to France as indemnity for the late war. 

This, it will be seen, quite isolated Philip, threatened 
again to separate Aragon and Castile, and at one blow 
touncto the work both of Isabel and her husband. 
But as Ferdinand never kept more of a treaty than 
suited him at the moment, it may be fairly assumed 
that he signed this only to bridge his present difficulty 
and with such mental reservation as was usual with 
him. When the news reached Brussels Maximilian 
himself was there with his son, and they at once tried 
their best to deal a counterstroke. When certain papers 
were presented to Joan for signature denouncing to 
the Castilian people Ferdinand's treaty and second 
marriage, she stood firm in her refusal to sign. Philip 
exerted the utmost pressure upon his wife ; but at last, 
worn out by his and Maximilian's importunity, the un- 
happy lady burst into ungovernable rage, flinging the 
papers from her and crying that she would never do 
anything against her father. The isolation and close 
guard over the Queen was indeed working its natural 
effect upon her highly wrought nervous system ; and 
Ferdinand's ambassadors, who had come to announce 
his marriage with his French bride, and to offer terms 
of friendship to his son-in-law, were scandalised at the 
treatment of their Queen. When, after much difficulty, 
they were allowed to see her at the palace of Brussels 
it was only on condition that they should have no con- 
versation with her. 

Shortly afterwards, in September 1505, Joan was 
delivered of a daughter (Maria, afterwards' Queen of 
Htrngary ah^T"Governess of the Netherlands), and 
Philip then decided that the time had come to carry 


her to Castile and claim the throne. First issuing a 
manifesto to the Castilian nobles and towns, ordering 
them not to obey Ferdinand in anything, he made 
overtures to the King of France to allow him to pass 
overland to Spain. This was flatly refused. The 
French princess, Germaine, was now Ferdinand's wife, 
ancTaTT the help that Louis xn. could give would be 
against Philip and Joan. It was therefore decided^ to 
make the voyage by sea, and a large fleet of sixty ships, 
with a retinue of three thousand persons, was mustered 
in one of the ports of Zeeland. In the meanwhile 
ceaseless intrigue went on both in Spain arid abroad. 
France having abandoned him, Philip turned to Eng- 
land. Juan Manuel's sister, Elvira, was the principal 
FacTy in waiting upon Katharine, Princess of Wales, 
and through her and Katharine secret negotiations 
were opened for a marriage between Henry^vn. and 
Philip's sister, the Archduchess Margaret, the widow 
of Juan, Prince of Asturias and of the Duke of Savoy, 
with an alliance between England and Philip though 
Katharine probably did not understand at first how 
purely this was a move against her father. So, although 
Henry vn. still professed to be on Ferdinand's side in 
the quarrel, he was quite ready for a secret alliance with 
Philip and Joan against him and the King of France. 

The King and Queen of Castile left Brussels early 
in November to join the waiting fleet, but from the 
slowness of their movements and the ostentatious 
publicity given to them, it is clear that their first object 
was to prepare Castile in their favour. Philip, for a 
time, scouted all idea of arrangement with Ferdinand. 
He knew that the Castilian nobles were on his side, 
and that his wife's legal right was unimpeachable. The 
wily old King of Aragon saw that his best policy was to 


temporise, and to do that he must seem strong. His 
first move was to declare to the Castilians that Joan was 
sane, but was kept a prisoner by her husband,_and he 
proposed to send a fleet to rescue her and bring her and 
her son Charles to Castile. Philip's Flemish subjects 
were discontented at his proposed long absence, and 
also threatened trouble. Then Ferdinand hinted that 
he would mobilise all his force to resist Philip's landing. 

This series of manoeuvres delayed the departure of 
Philip and his wife month after month ; until Ferdi- 
nand, by consummate diplomacy, managed to patch 
up an agreement with Philip's ambassadors at Sala- 
manca at the end of November ; which, though on the 
face of it fair enough, was really an iniquitous plot for 
the_ exclusion of Joan in any circumstances. Philip 
and Joan were to be acknowledged by Castile as sove- 
reigns, and their son Charles as heir ; but, at the 
same time, Ferdinand was to be accepted as perpetual 
governor in his daughter's absence : and in the case 
of Queen Joan being unwilling or unable to undertake 
the government, the two Kings, Ferdinand and Philip, 
were to issue all decrees and grants in their joint names. 
The revenues of Castile and of the Grand Master- 
ships were to be equally divided between Philip and 

When once this wicked but insincere agreement was 
ratified there was no further need for delay, and Philip's 
fleet sailed for Spain on the 8th January 1506 to 
engage in the famous battle of wits with his father- 
in-law, which only one could win. All went well 
until the Cornish coast was passed^ and then a dead 
calm fell, followed by a furious south-westerly gale 
which scattered the ships and left that in which Philip 
and Joan were without any escort. To add to the 


trouble a fire broke out upon this vessel, and a fallen 
spar gave the ship such a list as to leave her almost 
waterlogged. Despair seized the crew, and all gave 
themselves up for lost. Philip played anything but 
an heroic part. His attendants dressed him in an 
inflated leather garment, upon the back of which was 
painted in staring great letters, ' The King, Don 
Philip,' and thus arrayed, he knelt before a blessed 
image in prayer, alternating with groans, expecting 
every moment would be his last. Joan does not 
appear to have lost her head. She is represented 
by one contemporary authority l as being seated on 
the ground between her husband's knees, saying that 
if they went down she would cling so closely to him 
that they should never be separated in death, as they 
had not been in life. The Spanish witnesses are loud 
in her praise in this danger. 'The Queen,' they say, 
'showed no signs of fear, and asked them to bring 
her a box with something to eat. As some of the 
gentlemen were collecting votive gifts to the Virgin of 
Guadalupe, they passed the bag to the Queen, who, 
taking out her purse containing about a hundred 
doubloons, hunted amongst them until she found the 
only half-doubloon there, showing thus how cool she 
was in the danger. A king never was drowned yet, 
so she was not afraid, she said.' 2 

At length, mainly by the courage and address of 
one sailor, the ship was righted, the fire extinguished, 
and the vessel brought into the port of Weymouth 
on the 1 7th January 1506. Henry VIL of England 

* Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas,' vol. i. 
2 From a most entertaining Spanish account in manuscript in the 
Royal Academy of History, Madrid, in which the courtiers are mercilessly 


had been courted and conciliated by Philip for some 
time past, but it was a dangerous temptation to put 
in the wily Tudor's way to enable him to make his 
own terms for an alliance. Above all, he wanted to 
get into his power the rebel Earl of Suffolk, who was 
in refuge in Flanders, and this seemed his oppor- 
tunity. Philip had had enough of the sea for a while. 
We are assured by one who was there that he was 

* fatigate and unquyeted in mynde and bodie,' and he 
yearned to tread firm land again. His councillors 
urged him to take no risk, but Philip and Joan landed 
at Melcombe Regis to await a fair wind for sailing 
again. From far and near the west country gentry 
flocked down with their armed bands, ready for war 
or peace, but when they found that the royal visitors 
were friendly their hospitality knew no bounds. Sir 
John Trenchard would take no denial. The King 
and Queen must rest in his manor-house hard by 
until the weather mended ; and, in the meanwhile, 
swift horses carried the news to King Henry in 

As may be supposed, when he heard the news, 

* he was replenyshed with exceeding gladnes ... for 
that he trusted it should turn out to his profit and 
commodity,' which it certainly did. But Philip grew 
more and more uneasy at the pressing nature of the 
Dorsetshire welcome. The armed bands grew greater, 
and though the weather improved, Trenchard would 
not listen to his guests going on board until the King 
of England had a chance of sending greeting to his 
good brother and ally. At_]ength Philip and Joan 
realised that they __wgre_Jn_a_ trap, and had to make 
the-best of it, which they did with a good grace, for 
they were welcomed by Henry with effusive professions 


of pleasure. Philip was conveyed with a vast cavalcade 
of gentlemen across England to Windsor, where he 
was met by Henry and his son, the betrothed of 
Katharine, Joan's sister. Then the King of Castile 
was led to London and to Richmond with every 
demonstration of honour. But, withal, it was quite 
clear that Henry would not let his visitors go until 
they had subscribed to his terms, whatever they 
might be. And so the pact was solemnly sworn upon 
a fragment of the true cross in Saint George's Chapel, 
Windsor, by Philip and Henry, by which Suffolk was 
to be surrendered to his doom, Philip's sister Margaret, 
with her fat dowry, was to be married to the widowed 
old Henry, and England was bound to the King of 
Castile against Ferdinand of Aragon. 

Joan was deliberately kept in the background during 
her stay in England. She had followed her husband 
slowly from Melcombe, and arrived at Windsor ten 
clays later, the day after Philip, with great ceremony, 
had been invested with the Order of the Garter and 
had signed the treaty. On her arrival at Windsor 
on the loth February she saw her sister Katharine, 
though not alone, and Katharine left the next day 
to go to Richmond. Three days later, on the i4th 
February, Joan set out from Windsor again towards 
Falmouth, whilst Philip joined Henry at Richmond ; 
and soon after the King of Castile was allowed to 
travel into the west and once more take ship for his 
wife's kingdom. The cynical exclusion of Joan from 
all participation in the treaty with England^, and the 

1 'Spanish State Papers Calendar,' vol. i. Peter Martyr (Epist. 300) 
says that Katharine did her best to solace, comfort and entertain her 
sister Joan, but that the latter would take pleasure in nothing, and only 
loved solitude and darkness. In order to preserve appearances, the 
treaty arranged and signed before Joan's arrival at Windsor was 


fact that she was only allowed to see her sister once, 
and in the presence of witnesses in the interests of 
Philip, seems to prove that she was purposely kept 
in the dark as to the real meaning of the treaty, which 
was directed almost as much against herself as against 
her father, because, with England on his side, Philip 
could always paralyse France from interfering with 
him in Spain ; and it is clear that, whether Joan was 
really incapacitated at the time or not, both Ferdinand 
and Philip had already determined to make out that 
she was. 

Like a pair of wary wrestlers the two opponents still 
played at arms' length. Ferdinand, after celebrating 
his second marriage as he had celebrated his first, 
nearly forty years before at Valladolid, awaited at 
Burgos, so as to be near on arrival of his daughter and 
her husband at one of the Biscay ports, as was 
expected. But nothing was further from Philip's 
thoughts than to land at any place near where 
Ferdinand was waiting. His idea was to go to 
Andalucia, so as to be able to march through Spain 
before meeting the old King, and to gather friends 
and partisans on the way. Contrary winds, however, 
drove the fleet into Corunna, on the extreme north- 
west of the Peninsula, on the 26th April ; and 
Ferdinand, when he got the news, for a moment 
lost his smooth self-control, and was for flying at his 
undutiful son-in-law sword in hand. But the outbreak 
was not of long duration, for the circumstances were 
serious, and needed all the great astuteness of which 
Ferdinand was capable. Hj^jwas determined to rule 


ostensibly entered into by Philip as ruler of Flanders, not as King of 
Castile ; but its whole object obviously was to strengthen Philip in 


Castile whilst he lived for the benefit of his great 
A'ragonese aims. 

He had, indeed, some cause for complaint against 
fortune ; for, with the exception of the kingdom of 
Naples, he had not yet gathered the harvest that he 
had reckoned upon as the result of the union of the 
realms. His son-in-law, now that, by the death of 
other heirs, Joan had become Queen of Castile, was 
an enemy instead of an ally, and his defection had 
rendered necessary the pact between Ferdinand and 
France7^wriicri~Fad stultified much of the advantage 
previously gained by the Castilian connection. At 
any cost Castile must be held, or all would be lost. 
If Joan herself took charge of the government, as was 
her right, then goodbye to the hope of Ferdinand 
employing for his own purposes the resources of 
Castile ; for around her would be jealous nobles hating 
Aragon ; whereas, with Philip as King, it was certain 
that his imprudence, his ignorance of Spain, and the 
Castilian distrust of foreigners, would soon provoke a 
crisis that might give Ferdinand his chance. Both 
opponents, therefore, were equally determined to keep 
Jo"a"fT away from active sovereignty, whatever her 
mental state ; and as Philip and his wife rode through 
Corunna, smiling and debonair, gaining friends every- 
where, but surrounded with armed foreigners, German 
guards, archers, and the like, strange to Spaniards, as 
if in an enemy's country, the plot thickened between 
the two antagonists. 

Everywhere Philip took the lead, and Joan was 
treated as a consort. 1 In the verses of welcome it 

1 None of Ferdinand's envoys were allowed to see Joan at Corunna, 

but when the great Castilian nobles, Count Benavente and Marquis de 

r Villena, came to pay homage, Joan was seated by the side of her 


was Don Philip's name that came first ; and Joan 
showed her discontent at the position in which she was 
placed by refusing to confirm the privileges of the 
cities through which they passed until she had seen 
her father, though Philip promised readily to do so. 
Np^ sooner did Philip find himself supported by the 
northern nobles, thaji he announced that he would not 
be bound by the treaty of Salamanca, and generally 
gave Ferdinand to understand that Re, Philip, alone, 
intended to be master. Ferdinand travelled foTward 
to meet his son-in-law, rhaking desperate attempts at 
conciliation and to win Juan Manuel to his side, but 
without success : whilst Philip tarried on the way and 
exhausted every means of delay in order to gain 
strength before the final struggle. To Philip's insult- 
ing messages Ferdinand returned diplomatic answers ; 
in thejace of Philip's scornful rejection of advances, 
Ferdinand was amiable, conciliatory, almost humble ; 
he who, with the great Isabel, had been master of 
Spain for well nigh forty years. But he must have 
chuckled under his bated breath and whispering 
humbleness, forjie knew that he was going to win, 
and he knew how he was going to do it. 

Slowly Ferdinand travelled towards the north-west, 
sendifi|pdaiiy embassies to Philip soliciting a friendly 
interview, and at every stage, as he came nearer, his son- 
in-law grew in arrogance. When Ferdinand left Astorga 
in the middle of May, Juan Manuel sent a message to 
him that if he wished to see the King of Castile, he 
must understand three things : first, that no business 

husband, and the reception hall was thrown open to the public. This 
was necessary in consequence of the jealousy of Castilians against 
foreigners, and their insistence upon Joan's sovereignty ; but it was 
the only occasion on which Philip openly associated her with his 


would be discussed ; second, that Philip must have 
stronger forces than he ; and third, that he must not 
expect that he would be allowed to obtain any 
advantage by, or through, his daughter, Queen Joan, 
as they knew where that would lead them to. There- 
fore, continued Manuel, King Ferdinand had better 
not come to Santiago at all. In the meanwhile the 
inevitable discord was brewing in the Court of Joan 
and_Philip at Corunna. The proud Castilian nobles," 
greedy and touchy, who had flocked to Philip's side, 
found that Flemings and Germans always stood 
between them and the throne, and intercepted the 
favours for which they hungered. The Teutons, who 
thought they were coming to Spain to lord over all, 
found a jealous nobility and a nation convinced of its 
own heaven-sent superiority, ready to resist to the 
death any encroachment of foreigners, whom they 
regarded with hate and scorn. 

The Castilians deplored most the isolation of Joan, 
and~endeavoured by a hundred plans to persuade her 
to second her husband's action towards her father. 
Philip ceased now even to consult her, since she had 
refused to oppose Ferdinand ; and in the pageantry of 
the entrance into Santiago and the triumphal march 
through Galicia, with a conquering army rather than a 
royal escort, Joan, in deepest black garments and 
sombre face, passed like a shadow of death. As the 
Kings gradually approached each other, Ferdinand, in 
soft words, begged Philip to let him know what 
alterations he r "c!e~sired to make in the agreement of 
Salamanca. After much fencing, Philip replied that if 
his^Iather-in-law would send Cardinal Jimenez with full 
powers, he would try to arrange terms. The great 
point, he wrote, was that of Queen Joan ; and the 


King of Aragon knew full well that upon this point 
the issue between him and Philip would be joined. 
Ferdinand had little love or trust in the great Castilian 
Cardinal, Jimenez, though the latter was faithful to 
him, not for his own sake, but for the good of Spain ; 
but the Cardinal went to Philip with full powers, and 
bearing a private letter, saying that, as Joan was 
incapacitated from undertaking the government, 
Ferdinand besought Philip to join and make common 
cause with him, in order to prevent her, either of her 
own accord or by persuasion of the nobles, from 
seizing the reins. This was the line upon which 
Philip was pleased to negotiate, and Cardinal Jimenez 
found a ready listener. Ferdinand, however, was 
ready with the other alternative solution if this failed. 
If Philip would not join with him to exclude Joan, he 
would join Joan to exclude Philip, and all preparations 
were quietly made to muster his adherents at Toro, 
make a dash for Benavente, the place where Philip was 
to stay, rescue Joan, and govern, with her or in 
her name, to the exclusion of foreigners. 1 But it was 
unnecessary. Jimenez's persuasion and Ferdinand's 
supple importunity conquered ; and, though with 
infinite distrust and jealousy on all sides, the Kings 
still slowly approached each other, stage by stage, 
whilst the negotiations went on. 

The Teutons and Castilians were at open logger- 
heads now ; Queen Joan, reported Jimenez, was more 
closely guarded and concealed than ever, and Philip 
less popular in consequence. But, at length, the two 
rival Kings, on the 2Oth June 1506, found themselves 
in neighbouring villages ; and on that day at a farm- 

1 See the draft summons to nobles and gentry, kept ready for the 
eventuality, reproduced by Rodriguez Villa, ' Dona Juana la Loca.' 


house half-way between Puebla and Asturianos they 
met. Ferdinand, in peaceful guise, was attended only 
by the Duke of Alba and the gentlemen of his house- 
hold, not more than two hundred in all, mostly mounted 
on mules and unarmed ; whilst Philip came in warlike 
array with two thousand pikemen and hundreds of 
German archers in strange garments and outlandish 
headgear, whilst the flanks of his great company of 
nobles were protected by a host of Flemish troops. 
When Philip approached his father-in-law, with steel 
mail beneath his fine silken doublet, and surrounded by 
armed protectors, it was seen that his face was sour 
and frowning, whilst Ferdinand, almost alone and quite 
unarmed, came smiling and bowing low at every step. 
When the Castilian nobles came forward one by one 
shamefacedly, to kiss the hand of the old monarch 
they had betrayed, Ferdinand's satiric humour had 
full play, and many a sly thrust pierced their breasts, 
for all their hidden armour. After a few empty polite 
words between the Kings the conference was at an 
end, and each returned the way he came ; Ferdinand 
more than ever chagrined that he had not been allowed 
even to see his daughter. 

For the next few days the Kings travelled along 
parallel roads towards Benavente ; Philip continuing 
to treat his father-in-law as an intruder in the most 
insulting fashion. At length their roads converged at 
a small village called Villafafila, at the time when the 
long discussed agreement had been settled by their 
respective ministers ; and here, in the village church, 
the two rivals finally met to sign their treaty of peace 
xjrthe 2;th June 1506. It was a hellish compact, and 
it sealed the fate of unhappy Joan whatever might 
happen. Ferdinand came, as he said, with love in his 


heart and peace in his hands, only anxious for the 
happiness of his 'beloved children,' and of the realm 
that was theirs : and, after warmly embracing Philip, 
he led him towards the little village church to sign and 
swear to the treaty. With them, amongst others, were 
Don Juan Manuel and Cardinal Jimenez, and when the 
treaty was signed and the church cleared, the great 
churchman took the arm of Manuel, and whispered, 
' Don Juan, it is not fitting that we should listen to 
the talk of our masters. Do you go out first, and I 
will serve as porter.' And there alone, in the humble 
house of prayer, the two Kings made the secret com- 
pact which explains the treaty they had just publicly 
executed. In appearance Ferdinand gave up every- 
thing." He was, it is~true, tcTTiave half the revenues 
from the American discoveries, and to retain much 
plunder from the royal Orders and other grants of 
money, but he surrendered completely all share and 
part in tKe~ government of Castile, and allied himself to' 
Phlltp for offence and defence against the world. 

The secret deed, the outcome of that sinister private 
talk between two cruel scoundrels in the village church, 
allows us to guess, in conjunction with what followed, 
the reason for Ferdinand's meek renunciation of the 
government. ' As the Queen Joan on no account 
wishes to have anything to do with any affair of 
government or other things ; and, even if she did wish 
it, it would cause the total loss and destruction of these 
realms, having regard to her infirmities and passions, 
which are not described here for decency's sake ' ; 
and then the document provides that, * if Joan of her 
own accord, or at the instance of others, should attempt 
to interfere in the government or disturb the arrange- 
ment made between the two Kings, they will join 


forces to prevent it.' 'And so we swear to God our 
Lord, to the Holy Cross, and the four saintly evan- 
gelists, with our bodily hands placed upon His altar.' 
And the two smiling villains came out hand in hand, 
both contented ; each of them sure that the best of the 
evil bargain lay with him, and Ferdinand made pre- 
parations for departure to his own Aragon, and so to 
his realm of Naples and Sicily, delighted that his 
' beloved children ' should peacefully reign over the 
land of Castile. 

It was more than two years and a half since Ferdi- 
nand had seen his daughter Joan. During that time 
both he and Philip had alternately declared she was 
quite sane and otherwise, as suited their plans. Now 
both were agreed, not only that she did not wish to 
govern her country : but that if ever she did wish, or 
"Ccistifians wished for her to do so, then her 'passions 
and infirmities,' so vaguely referred to, would malce 
her rule disastrous. It ensured Philip being King of 
Castile so long as he lived, ancT Ferdinand being master 
if he survived, and until the majority of his grandson 
Charles. There is no reason to deny that Joan was. 
wayward, morbid, and eccentric ; ~subJecF~to fits of 
jealous rage at certain periods or crises, and that sub- 
sequently she developed intermittent lunacy. But ja.t 
this time, according to all accounts, she was not mad 
in a sense that justified her permanent exclusion from 
the throne that belonged to her. Philip, heartless, 
ambitious, and vain, wished to rule Castile alone, 
according to Burgundian methods, which were alien 
to Spain and to the Queen. Ferdinand knew that, in 
any case, such an attempt could not succeed for long ; 
and by permanently excluding Joan he secured for 
himself the reversion practically for the rest of his life. 



And so Joan was pushed aside and wronged by those 
whose sacred duty it was to protect and cherish her, 
and as Joan the Mad she goes down to all posterity. 

But old Ferdinand had not yet shot his last bolt, for 
symmetry and completeness in his villainy was always 
his strong point. On the very day that the secret 
compact was signed, he came again to that humble 
altar of Villafafila, accompanied this time only by those 
faithful Aragonese friends who would have died for 
him, Juan Cabrero, who had befriended Colon, and his 
secretary, Almazan. Before these he swore and signed^ 
a declaration that Philip had come in great force whilst 
he had none, and had by intimidation and fear com- 
pelled him to sign a deed so greatly to the injury of 
h^own daughter. He swore now that he had only 
done so to escape his peril, and never meant that Joan 
should be deprived of her liberty of action : on the 
contrary, he intended when he could to liberate her 
and restore to her the administration of the realm that 
belonged to her : and he solemnly denounced and re- 
pudiated the former oath he had just taken on the 
same altar. And then, quite happy in his mind, Fer- 
dinand the Catholic went on his way, having left 
heavily bribed all the men who surrounded doomed 
Philip, including even the all-powerful favourite Juan 

Philip lost no time. Before Ferdinand had got 
beyond Tordesillas, a courtier reached him from his 
son-in-law giving him news of Joan's anger and 
passion when she learnt that she was pushed aside 
and was not to see her father. What would Ferdinand 
recommend ? asked Philip. But the old King was 
not to be caught ; he would not be cajoled into giving 
his consent to Joan being shut up, but he sent a long 


sanctimonious rigmarole enjoining harmony, but mean- 
ing nothing. Philip then appealed to the nobles one 
by one, asking them to sign a declaration assenting 
to Joan's confinement. The Admiral of Castile, 
Ferdinand's cousin, led a strong opposition to this, 
and demanded a personal interview with the Queen 
to which Philip consented, and the Admiral and Count 
Benavente went to the fortress of Murcientes, where 
Joan and her husband were staying. At the door of 
the chamber stood Garcilaso de la Vega, a noble in 
Philip's interest, and Cardinal Jimenez was just inside ; 
whilst in a window embrasure in the darkened room 
sat the Queen alone, garbed in black with a hood 
which nearly obscured her face. She rose as Admiral 
Enriquez approached, and with a low curtsey, asked 
him if he came from her father. 'Yes,' he replied, 
' I left him yesterday at Tudela on his way to Aragon.' 
' I should so much have liked to see him,' sighed poor 
Joan ; ' God guard him always.' For many hours that 
day and the next the noble spoke to the Queen, saying 
ho\v important it was to the country that she should 
agree well with her husband, and take part in the 
government that belonged to her. He reported after- 
wards that in all these conferences she never gave a 
random answer. 

The Admiral was too important a person to be 
slighted, and Philip was forced to listen to some 
plain warnings from him. He must not venture to go 
to Valladolid without the Queen, or ill would come 
of it : the people were jealous already, and if Joan was 
shut up their fears would be confirmed. So Joan 
was borne by her husband's side to Valladolid in 
state, though her face was set in stony sorrow 
beneath the black cowl that shrouded it. Near there 


one other interview took place between the two kings 
with much feigned affection, but no result as regards 
Joan. On the loth July 1506, Joan and her husband 
rode through the city of Valladolid with all the pomp 
of Burgundy and Spain. Two banners were to be 
carried before the royal pair, but Joan knew she 
alone was Queen of Castile, and insisted that one 
should be destroyed before she would start. She 
was mounted upon a white jennet, housed in black 
velvet to match her own sable robes, and a black 
hood almost covered her face. 1 Shows, feasts and 
addresses were arranged for their reception, but they 
rode straight through the crowded, flower - decked 
streets without staying to witness them ; and this 
joyous entry, we are told by an eyewitness, meant 
to be so gay, was blighted by an all-pervading gloom, 
as of some great calamity to come. 

On the following day; the_Cortes took the oath of 
allegiance__tg Joan as Queen, ajijd_Jo_j3iilip only~as 
consort, and she personally insisted upon seeing the 
powers of the deputies. The ceremonies over, Philip 
came to business. Great efforts were, made Jx> persuade 
the Cortes to consent to J oan^^on^nejnejit_and^hilip's 
personal rule"; and Jimenez did his best to get the 
her. 2 But the stout Admiral Enriquez 

1 Her grand-daughter, another Joan, sister of Philip n. and Princess 
of Portugal, had also after her widowhood this curious fancy to keep her 
face hidden. 

2 The part played by Jimenez at this period has always been a puzzling 
problem. He was apparently in the full confidence of Philip, but it is 
impossible to believe that he was not really acting in concert with 
Ferdinand at the time. He probably knew that one way or the other 
Philip was bound to disappear very soon, and his presence at the crisis 
would enable him, as it actually did, to keep firm hold upon the govern- 
ment until Ferdinand returned. His anxiety to get the custody of Joan 
seems to point to this also, as the person who held the Queen was the 
master of the situation. 


stood in the way, and insisted that this iniquity 
should not be, so that Philip was obliged to put up 
with the position of administrator for his wife, since 
he could not be King in her stead. Flemings, Germans 
and Castilians, in the meanwhile, vied with each other 
in rapacity. Philip was free enough with the money 
of others, but even he had to go out hunting by 
stealth to escape importunity when he had given away 
all he had to give and more. But of all the greedy 
crew there was none so rapacious as Juan Manuel, 
little of body but great of mind, who, like the Marquis 
of Villena forty years before, grabbed with both hands 
insatiate. Fortresses, towns, pensions, assignments of 
national revenue, nothing came amiss to Manuel, and 
at last his covetous eyes were cast upon the fortress 
palace of Segovia, still in the keeping of that stout 
Andres Cabrera and his wife, Beatriz de Bobadilla, 
Marchioness of Moya, the lifelong friend of the great 
Isabel. Philip gave an order that the Alcazar of 
Segovia was to be surrendered to Manuel. Surrender 
the Alcazar ! after fifty years of keeping ! No, forsooth, 
said big-hearted Dona Beatriz ; only to Queen Joan 
will we give the fortress that her great mother entrusted 
to our keeping. 

And so it happened that Philip, with Joan still in 
black by his side, rode out-o_Valladolid in August 
towards Segovia, to demand the fortress from its 
keeper. When the cavalcade reached Cogeces, half 
way to Segovia, Joan^would go no further. They 
were taking her to Segovia, she cried, to imprison 
her in the Alcazar, and she threw herself from her 
horse writhing upon the ground, and refused to stir 
another step on the way. The prayers and threats 
of Philip and his councillors, whom she hated, were 


worse than useless, and all that night she rode hither 
and thither across country refusing to enter the town. 
When the morning came Philip learnt that Cabrera 
had surrendered the Alcazar of Segovia to Manuel ; 
and as there was no reason now for going thither, 
they rode back to Burgos. As they travelled through 
Castile, brows grew darker and hearts more bitter at 
this fine foreign gallant with his fair face and his gay 
garments, who kept the Queen of Castile in durance 
in her own realms, and packed his friends and foreign 
pikemen in all the strong castles of the land. When 
Burgos '~'was~~~reached on the ;th September, Philip 
deepened the discontent by ordering the immediate 
departure of the wife of the Constable of Castile, an 
Enriquez by birth, and consequently a cousin of 
Ferdinand, in order that Joan should have no relative 
near her, although they lodged in the Constable's 
palace. The Admiral of Castile and the Duke of 
Alba were also attacked by Philip, who demanded 
their fortresses as pledges of loyalty ; and soon all 
Castile was in a ferment, clamouring for the return 
of the old King Ferdinand, and the liberation of their 
Queen Joan. 

The King, not content with conferring upon his 
favourite Manuel the Alcazar of Segovia, now entrusted 
to his keeping the castle of Burgos, where it was 
determingd__to celebrate the surrender by entertaining 
Philip at a banquet AfteFThe feast the King was 
taken ill of a malignant fever, it was said, caused by 
indulgence or over-exercise, and Philip lay ill for days 
in raging delirium. Joan, dry-eyed and cool, never 
left his side, saying little, but attending assiduously 
to the invalid. At one o'clock on the 25th September 
1506 Philip i., King of Castile, breathed his last, in 


his twenty-eighth year : but yet Joan, without a tear 
or a tremor, still stayed by his side, deaf to all 
remonstrance and condolence, to all appearance un- 
moved. She calmly gave orders that the corpse of 
her husband should be carried in state to the great 
hall of the Constable's palace upon a splendid cata- 
falque of cloth of gold, the body clad in ermine-lined 
robes of rich brocade, the head covered by a jewelled 
cap, and a magnificent diamond cross upon the breast. 
A throne had been erected at the end of the hall, and 
upon this the corpse was arranged, seated as if in 
life. During the whole of the night the vigils for 
the dead were intoned by friars before the throne, 
and when the sunlight crept through the windows the 
body, stripped of its incongruous finery, was opened 
and embalmed and placed in a lead coffin, from 
which, for the rest of her life, Joan never willingly 
parted. I 

Joan, in stony immobility, dazed and silent, gave no 
indication that she understood the tremendous im- 
portance of her husband's death ; but courtiers and 
nobles, Castilians and Teutons alike, did not share her 
insensibility. Dismay fell upon the rapacious crew, 
fierce denunciations of poison, 2 scrambling for such 
plunder as could be grasped, 3 and dread apprehensions 

1 Estanques' ' Cronica ' in Documentos Ineditos, vol. viii. 

2 Although, as was usual, Philip's Italian physician vehemently denied 
that there were any indications of poison on the remains, there can be 
but little doubt that Philip was murdered by agents of Ferdinand. The 
statement to that effect was freely and publicly made at the time, but the 
authorities were always afraid to prosecute those who made them. See 
' Calendar of Spanish State Papers,' Supplement to Vol. i., p. xxxvii. 
There were many persons who attributed Philip's death, not to Ferdinand, 
but to the Inquisition, which Philip had offended by softening its rigour, 
and suspending the chief Inquisitors, Deza and Lucero ; but this is very 

3 ' Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas,' vol. i. It is 


as to what would happen to them all when the King 
of Aragon should return. Joan had to be forcibly 
removed from the corpse ; and for days remained shut 
up in a darkened room without speaking, eating, or 
undressing. When, at length, she learnt that the 
coffin had been carried to the Cartuja de Miraflores, 
near Burgos, she insisted upon going thither, and 
ordered an immense number of new mourning gar- 
ments fashioned like nun's weeds. Arriving at the 
church, she heard mass, and then caused the coffin to 
be raised from the vault and broken open, the cere- 
cloths removed from the head and feet, which she 
kissed and fondled until she was persuaded to return 
to Burgos, on the promise that the coffin should be 
kept open for her to visit it when she pleased ; which 
she did thenceforward every few days whilst it 
remained there. 

The Flemish chronicler, whom I have quoted 
several times, gives a curious description of Joan's 
jealous amorous obsession for her husband. Philip is 
represented as being libidinous to the last degree, as 
well as being the handsomest man of his time ; whilst 
Joan herself is praised for her beauty, grace, and 
delicacy. t The good Queen fell into such jealousy 
that she could never get free from it, until at last it 
became a bad habit which reached amorous delirium, 
and excessive and irrepressible rage, from which for 
three years she got no repose or ease of mind ; as if 
she was a woman possessed or distraught . . . She 
was so much troubled at the conduct of her husband 
that she passed her life shut up alone, avoiding the 

here stated that foreign officers of the household broke up all the gold 
and silver plate they could lay hands on to turn into money, and pay 
their way back to Flanders. 


sight of all persons but those who attended upon and 
gave her food. Her onl^jwish was to go after her 
husband, whom sheToved with such vehemence and 
frenzy, that she cared not whether her company was 
agreeaIe~to him or not. When she returned to 
Spain, she would not rest until all the ladies that had 
come with them were sent home, or she threatened to 
make a public scandal. So far did she carry this 
mania, that it ended by her having no woman near her 
but a washerwoman, whom, at any hour that seized 
her caprice, she made to wash the clothes in her 
presence. In this state, without any women attendants, 
she kept close to her husband, serving herself like a 
poor, miserable woman. Even in the country she did 
not leave him, and went by his side, followed some- 
times by ten thousand men, but not one person of her 
own sex.' 1 

The frantic jealousy of her husband during life, 
together with the knowledge that he was determined 
to confine her as a lunatic, whilst ruling her kingdom 
at his will, turned into gloomy misanthropy and 
rebellion at her fate at his death ; and her refusal to 
sign the formal documents presented to her as Queen 
in the first days of her widowhood, made evident to 
the few nobles who kept their heads that some sort of 
government would have to be improvised, pending the 
return of Ferdinand from Naples. Juan Manuel, 
fiercely hated by every one, kept in the background ; 
only hoping to save his life and some of his booty ; 
but the stern old man in his coarse grey frock, to 
whom money and possessions were nothing, though, 
next to the Pope, he was the richest churchman in 
Christendom, Cardinal Jimenez, who perhaps was not 

1 ' Collection de Voyages des Souverains des Pays Bas.' 


taken by surprise by the opportune disappearance of 
Philip, had everything ready, even before the King 
died, for the establishment of a provisional govern- 
ment ; and on the day of the death a meeting of all 
the nobles and deputies in Burgos confirmed the 
arrangements he had made. All parties of nobles 
were represented upon the governing council ; but 
Jimenez himself was president, and soon became 
autocrat by right of his ability. Order was temporarily 
guaranteed, and all the members, in a self-denying 
ordinance, undertook not to try to obtain possession of 
the Queen or of her younger son, Ferdinand, who was 
in Simancas Castle, 1 the elder, Charles, being in 
Flanders. Joan, sunk in lethargy, refused to sign 
the decrees summoning Cortes ; and the latter were 
irregularly convoked by the government. But when 
they were assembled, carefully cho'sen under Jimenez's 
influence in favour of Ferdinand, Joan would not 
receive the members, until, under pressure, she did so 
only to tell them to go home and not meddle with 
government any more without her orders. Thus with 
a provisional government, whose mandate expired with 
the-yeaT 1506, a Queen who refused to rule, and 
already~a^ arc hy and j-eUeilion rite in the South, 
CastHians could only pray for the prompt return of 
King" Ferdinand, who, but a few short weeks before, 
had been expelled with every circumstance of insult 
and ignominy the realm he had ruled so long. 

1 On the very day that Philip died, an attempt was made by a faction 
of nobles to obtain possession of the young Prince. The keeper of the 
Castle of Simancas was on his guard, as he knew of the King's illness, 
and refused admittance to any but the two gentlemen who bore Philip's 
signed order for the child to be delivered to them. When the morrow 
brought news of the King's death, the Seneschal refused to obey the 
order, and defied the forces sent to capture the fortress. 


No entreaty could prevail upon Joan to fulfil any of 
the duties of government. Her father would see to 
everything, she said, when he returned ; all her future 
work in the world was to pray for the soul of her 
husband, and guard his dead body. On Sunday, iQth 
December 1906, after mass at the Cartuja, Joan 
announced her intention of carrying the body for 
sepulture in the city of Granada, near the grave of 
the great Isabel, in accordance with Philip's last wish. 1 
The steppes of Castile in the depth of winter are as 
bleak and inhospitable as any tract in Europe. For 
scores of miles over tableland and mountain the snow 
lay deep, and the bitter blast swept murderously. The 
Queen cared for nothing but the drear burden that she 
carried upon the richly bedizened hearse ; and with a 
great train of male servitors, bishops, churchmen, and 
choristers, she started on her pilgrimage on the 2Oth 
December. 2 The nights were to be passed in wayside 
inns or monasteries, and at each night's halt the grisly 
ceremony was gone through of opening the coffin that 
the Queen might fondle and kiss the dead lips and 
feet of what had been her husband. At one point on 
the way, when after nightfall the cortege entered the 

1 The monks at first flatly refused to have the corpse moved, and the 
Bishop of Burgos reproved the Queen. Joan, however, fell into such a 
fury, that they were forced to obey. 

2 An interesting letter from Ferdinand's secretary, Conchillos, who was 
at Burgos, to Almazan, who accompanied Ferdinand in Italy (Royal 
Academy of History, Salazar A 12, reproduced by Sr. Rodriguez Villa), 
dated 23rd December, gives a vivid picture of the confusion and scandal 
caused by this sudden caprice of the Queen. He says that though they 
had all done their best to prevent any one speaking to her but her father's 
partisans, the Marquis of Villena, his opponent, is the person she welcomes 
most. 'With this last caprice of the Queen there is no one, big or little, 
who any longer denies that she is out of her mind, except Juan Lopez, 
who says that she is as sane as her mother was, and lends her money for 
all this nonsense.' 


courtyard of the stopping place, Joan learnt that, 
instead of being a monastery for men, it was a convent 
of nuns, histantly her mad jealousy of women flared 
up, and she peremptorily ordered the coffin to be 
carried out of the precincts. Through the crude 
winter's night Joan and her attendants kept their 
vigil in the open field over the precious dust of Philip 
the Handsome, until daylight enabled them to go 
again upon their dreary way. Such experiences as 
this could not be long continued, for Joan was far 
advanced in pregnancy ; and when she arrived at 
Torquemada, only some thirty miles from her starting- 
place, the indications of coming labour warned her 
that she could go no further; and here, on the i4th 
January 1507, her youngest child, Katharine, was born. 

There is no doubt whatever that Joan was through- 
out carefully watched by the agents of her father and 
Jimenez ; and that, although ostensibly a free agent, 
any attempt on her part to act independently or enter 
into a political combination would have promptly 
checked. Her mental malady was certainly not mini- 
mised by her father or his agents ; who were as 
anxious to keep her in confinement now as her hus- 
band had been. Nevertheless, when every deduction 
has been made, it is indisputable that in her morbid^., 
condition it might have been disastrous to the country 
to have allowed her to exercise full political power_at 
this time, even if she had consented to do soj though 
if Ferdinand had not been, as he was, solely moved by 
his own interests, the unhappy woman might after his 
arrival have been associated with him in the govern- 
ment, and have retained, at least, her personal liberty 
and ostensible sovereignty. 

Jimenez, in the meanwhile, kept his hand firmly on 


the helm of State, The great military orders, of which 
Ferdinand was perpetual Grand Master, were at his 
bidding, and enabled him to hold the nobles in check, 1 
as well as the Flemish party, which claimed for the 
Emperor Maximilian the regency of Castile as repre- 
senting the dead King's son Charles. The great 
Cardinal, far stronger than any other man in. Spain, 
thus Kept Castile from anarchy until the arrival of 
Ferdinand in July 1508. His methods were, of course, 
arbitrary and unconstitutional ; for the Queen either 
would not, or was not allowed to, do anything ; but, 
at least, Jimenez governed in this time of supreme 
crisis, as he did at a crisis even more acute on the 
death of Ferdinand eight years later : and when Fer- 
dinand eventually came from Naples everything was 
prepared for him to govern Castile as he listed for the 
ends of Aragon. 

So far Ferdinand had triumphed both at home and 
abroad. The death of Philip made it necessary for 
Henry of England to change his attitude and court 
the friendship of the King of Spain. Katharine of 
Aragon, the neglected and shamefully treated widowed 
Princess of Wales, once more found her English 
father-in-law all smiles and amiability. To please him 
further she consented to try to bring about a marriage 
between Henry vn., recently a widower by the death 
of Queen Elizabeth of York, and poor Joan, languish- 
ing by her dead husband's side at Torquemada. The 
proposal was a diabolical one ; for Joan's madness and 
morbid attachment to her husband's memory had been 
everywhere proclaimed from the housetops : but Kath- 
arine of Aragon made no scruple at urging such a 

1 Jimenez also raised a force of one thousand picked soldiers under 
an Italian commander to enable him to keep the upper hand. 


match, in order to improve her own position in Eng- 
land. Ferdinand gently dallied with the foul proposal. 
It was a good opportunity for gaining some concession 
as to the payment of Katharine's long overdue dowry, 
without which Henry threatened to break off her 
match with his son and heir. So Ferdinand wrote in 
March 1507 from Naples, praying that the proposal to 
marry Joan should be kept very secret until he arrived 
inJSpain, or Joan ' might do something to prevent it ' ; 
but if she ever married again-he promised that it should 
be to no one but to his^good brother of England. 

Whatever may have been Ferdinand's real intention, 
and it would appear very unlikely that he would have 
permitted so grasping a potentate as Henry Tudor to 
gain a footing, as regent or otherwise, in Castile, his 
agent in England was quite enamoured of this plan for 
getting Joan out of the way in Spain. ' No king in 
the world,' he wrote on the i5th April 1507, 'would 
make so good a husband (as Henry vn.) for the Queen 
of Castile, whether she be sane or insane. She might 
recover her reason when wedded to such a husband ; 
but even in that case King Ferdinand would, at all 
events, be sure to retain the Regency of Castile. On 
the other hand, if the insanity of the Queen should 
prove incurable, it would perhaps be not inconvenient 
that she should live in England. The English do not 
seem to mind her insanity much ; especially as it is 
asserted that her mental malady will not prevent child- 
bearing. 1 

Whilst Katharine in England was, as she says, 
'baiting' Henry vn. for her own benefit with the 
tempting morsel of the marriage with Joan, and the 
King of France was offering the hand of a French 

1 Puebla to Ferdinand, Spanish Calendar, vol. i. 409. 



)rince, the Queen of Castile remained in lethargic 
olation at Torquemada, though the plague raged" 
through the summer in the over-crowded village. 
Joan had been told by some roguish friar that Philip 
wquIcT come to life again there, and she obstinately 
stayed on in the face of danger ; saying when she was 
urged to go to the neighbouring city of Palencia, where 
there was more accommodation, that it was not meet 
that a widow should be seen in public, and the only 
move she would consent to make was to a small place 
called Hornillos, a few miles from Torquemada, in 
April. 1 She spoke little, and with the exception of 
listening to music, of which she was fond, she had no 
amusement ; but it is evident from at least one incident 
that, however strange her conduct might be, she was 
not deprived entirely of her reason. Jimenez had 
obtained from her a decree dismissing all tEe Coun- 
cillors appointed by Philip. These favourites of her 
husband were naturally furious, and demanded audience 
of the Queen at Hornillos. They were received by 
her in the church where the corpse of Philip was de- 
posited. * Who put you into the Council ? she asked 
them. ' We were appointed by a decree issued and 
signed by your Highness,' they replied. An angry 
exchange of words then took place, and Joan, turning 
to the Marquis of Villena, 2 who was behind her, told 
him that it was his smartness that brought such affront 
as this upon her. Then she declared in a resolute 
tone that it was her wish that every one should return 
to the office or position he held before she and her ' 
husband landed in Spain ; so that when King Ferdi- 

1 Peter Martyr, Epistolse. 

2 Villena was against Ferdinand, though Joan liked him. She probably 
meant that it was he who had inspired the protest. 


nand arrived he should find everything as it used to 
be in his time. This, of course, was a victory for 
Ferdinand's party, but it is clear that Joan knew what 
she was talking about on this occasion. 1 

At length, in the early autumn of 1507, came the 
happy news that King Ferdinand had landed at 
Valencia ; and, accompanied by a large force, was 
entering Castile ; being generally welcomed by nobles 
and people. 2 As soon as Joan learnt that her father 
had entered her realm, she caused a Te Deum to be 
sung in the church of Hornillos, and set forth to receive 
him, carrying always the corpse of her husband, and 
travelling only by night, as was now her custom. At 
a small place called Tortoles, about twenty-five miles 
beyond Valladolid, father and daughter met. The 
King approached, surrounded and followed by great 
crowds of nobles and prelates. He was met at the 
door of the house by Joan, attended by her half-sister 
and the Marchioness of Denia ; and as he doffed his 
cap she threw back the black hood which she wore as 
a Flemish widow, and bared the white coif with which 

1 The Castilian jealousy of Aragonese government, which was really at 
the bottom of the adherence of the nobility to Philip, was not by any 
means dead ; and, but for the firmness of Jimenez and the diplomacy of 
Ferdinand, it is quite probable that a league of nobles would have seized 
Joan at this time and have governed in her name. Most of the greater 
Castilian nobles appear to have made mutual protests against the assump- 
tion of rule in Castile by Ferdinand ; and in the archives of the Duke of 
Frias there is one dated iQth June 1507, just before Ferdinand landed at 
Valencia, and signed by the Marquis Pacheco, solemnly repudiating 
Ferdinand as King, swearing to be loyal to Joan, and attributing any- 
thing that he may subsequently do to the contrary effect, to intimidation 
and force. As these protests were kept secret the nobles made themselves 
safe either way. 

2 The Marquis of Villena had just been brought to his side, and some- 
what later Juan Manuel was bribed to give up his fortresses, though he 
himself retired to Flanders, for he would never trust Ferdinand. The 
only great noble who continued to hold out was the Duke of Najera. 


her hair was covered. Casting herself upon her knees 
she sought to kiss her father's hand ; but he also knelt 
and embraced her tenderly ; leading her afterwards by 
the hand into the house. Every sign of dutiful sub- 
mission was given by Joan to her father ; and after 
several long private conferences between them, Ferdi- 
nand announced that she had delegated to Jiim the 
government of Castile. 

A few days afterwards the whole court moved to 
another small place, called Santa Maria del Campo, a few 
miles nearer Burgos, Joan, as usual, travelling by 
night, accompanied by the ^coffin ; and here, at Santa 
Maria, the grand anniversary funeral service for Philip 
was celebrated (25th September 1507), and Jimenez 
received the Cardinal's hat, though Joan would not 
allow that joyous ceremony, as she said, to be held in 
the church that held her husband's remains. With 
infinite trouble Ferdinand at length persuaded his 
daughter to accompany him to a larger town, where 
more comfort could be obtained, and in early October 
they set forth, Ferdinand travelling by day and Joan 
by night. Suddenly, however, Joan guessed that they 
were taking her to Burgos, that dreadful city where 
Philip had died. No consideration would induce her to 
go another step in that direction ; and she took up her 
residence at Arcos, a few miles away, whilst Ferdinand 
established himself at Burgos with his young French 
wife, whom Joan received politely. 

^At Arcos Joan, with her two children, Ferdinand 
and Katharine, lived her strange, solitary"" life fer 
eighteen months, broken only when Ferdinand, going 
in July 1508 to reduce Andalusia to order, decided to 
take his favourite little grandson and namesake with 
him. Joan flew into a fury when she learnt that her 



child was to be taken from her ; and there is no doubt 
that the disturbance thus caused aggravated her 
malady for a time, although it is said that she forgot 
the boy in a few days. A curious idea of her life at 
Arcos is given in a letter sent on the 9th October 
1508 by the Bishop of Malaga, her confessor, to the 
King. 'As I wrote before, since your Highness left, 
the Queen has been quiet, both in word and action ; 
and she has not injured or abused any one. I forgot 
to say that since then she has not changed her linen, 
nor dressed her hair, nor washed her face. They tell 
me also that she always sleeps on the ground, as 
before.' There follow some medical details, from 
which the Bishop draws the conclusion that the Queen 
would not live long. ' It is not meet/ he says, 'that she 
should liave the management of her own person, as 
she takes so little care of herself. Her lack of cleanli- 
ness in her face, and they say elsewhere, is very great, 
and she eats with the plates on the floor, and no 
napkin. She very often misses hearing mass, because 
she is breakfasting at the hour it is celebrated, and 
there is no opportunity of her hearing it before noon.' 1 
Before leaving to suppress the revolt in Andalucia, 
Ferdinand took effective measures to prevent Joan 
from being made a tool of faction. He had tried 
without success to prevail upon her to remove to the 
remote town of Tordesillas, on the river Douro, where 
there was a commodious castle-palace fit for her 
habitation, and the climate was good ; but he posted 
around Arcos strong forces, commanded by faithful 
partisans, with orders that if the Queen at last gave 
way to the persuasion of her attendants, and removed 
to Tordesillas, the troops were to guard her just as 

1 Copied by Rodriguez Villa. 


closely and secretly there. But Joan obstinately 
refused to move ; and Ferdinand found her still there 
when he returned from the South in February 1509. 
Whilst he had been absent, the great magnate in 
whose district of Burgos Arcos was situated, the 
Constable of Castile (Count de Haro) had been 
coquetting with the Emperor Maximilian to displace 
Ferdinand by his grandson Charles, now nine years 
old ; and the possession of the person of Joan was of 
the highest importance. Ferdinand decided, therefore, 
that, either willingly or unwillingly, Joan should be 
placed where she would be safe from capture by 
surprise. When he visited her at Arcos, he found 
her thin and weak with the coTd, unhealthy climate. 1 
' H^r dress was such as on no account couM be 
allowed, or is fit even to write about, and everything 
else looked similarly, and as if it would be^totally 
impossible for her to go through another winter if she 
continued to liv in the same way.' 

The King stayed with her for some days, without 
broaching the sore subject of removing her ; but on 
the 1 4th February 1509, he had her aroused at three 
o'clock in the morning since he knew she would not 
travel in daylight and told her she must prepare 
to be gone. She offered no resistance, but only 
pleaded for one day to prepare, which was granted ; 
and she consented to cast away the filthy rags which 
she had been wearing, and don proper garments before 
setting out on the journey to her new home ; cajrrying 
her little daughter, Katharine, with her ; the corpse of 
Phillip on its great hearse drawn by four horses, as 
usual, leading the way. Although it was evening 

1 It is in the immediate neighbourhood of Burgos, and one of the 
i coldest places in Spain. 



when she started, great crowds of people had flocked 
over from Burgos to see their Queen, who had been 
invisible for so long, and was by many thought to be 

As the morning sun on the third day was glinting 
with horizontal rays the bare brown cornlands that 
stretch for many miles around Tordesillas on both 
sides of the turbid Douro, the wan and weary cavalcade 
rode over the ancient bridge. Between the main 
street and the river stood a fortress-palace with 
frowning walls and little windows looking across the 
road at the convent of Saint Clara, with its florid 
Gothic church and cloisters. Into the palace rode, 
by her father's side, with her face shrouded, Joan, Queen 
of Castile ; and thenceforward, for forty-seven dreary 
years, the palace was her prison, until, an old, broken 
woman of seventy-six, but wayward and rebellious to 
the last, she joined her long-lost husband in the splendid 
sepulchre in Granada. From the windows of Joan's 
early apartment in the palace, she could see the coffin 
of Philip deposited in the convent cloister, and in the 
first years of her confinement, she kept her vigil over the 
corpse in most of her waking hours, as well as on rare 
occasions, and closely guarded, attending commemora- 
tory services in the convent in honour of the dead, 
until her undutiful son, the Emperor Charles, either 
overcoming her resistance, or perhaps finding the 
dismal caprice outworn, transferred the mouldering 
remains ofPhilip the Ha^dsome~To~Its last abiding 
place"; whilsT Joan the Mad waited for her release 
'wrth-Aerce defiance in her heart, and revilings on her 
tongue for all that her oppressors held sacred. 

It would not be profitable, even if it were possible, 
to follow closely the monotonous life of Joan during 


her long years of confinement ; but, at certain crises in 
the^ political history of her country, her personality 
assumed temporary importance, and on these occasions 
a~Hob3 of light is thrown upon her, which, to some 
extent, will enable us to see the reality and extent of 
her malady, and to judge how far her laxity in religious, 
observance was the cause of her continued incarcera- ; 
tiorh Mr. Bergenroth, in his introduction to the early 
volumes of the Calendars of Spanish State Papers, 
very forcibly urges_the view that Joan was not really 
mad aj; jLll^and^that she~^was sacrificed solely to Trie 
ambition of her husband, her father and her son, in 
succession. After carefully considering all the docu- 
ments adduced by my learned predecessor as Editor 
of the Calendars, and many in the Spanish Royal 
Academy of History which were unknown to him, I 
find myself unable to come to the same conclusion. 
The separate accounts of her behaviour are so numer- 
ous, and many of them so disinterested, as to leave in 
my mind no reasonable doubt that after Philip's death, 
whatever may have been the case before, Joan was 
not responsible for all her actions. She appears to 
have been able on many occasions to discuss com- 
plicated subjects quite rationally, as is not infrequent 
with people undoubtedly insane, but her outbursts of 
rage against religious ceremonies, her neglect of her 
person, her persistence for days in refusing food, and 
other aberrations, are not only clearly indicative oTlunacy, 
but were the symptoms repeated exactly in the case_pf 
her great grandson, Don Carlos, who was undoubtedly 
insar^r At the same time it is clear to see that there 
was no reason for keeping her closely confined and 
isolated under strong guard, except the dread of_Fer- 
dinand, and afterwards of Charles, that leagues of 


nobles might make use of her to weaken the power 
of the Castilian crown. 1 That this fear was not 
groundless has already been shown, and at one point, 
as "wTfinbe^related presently, the peril was imminent. 
That Joan did not seize the opportunity when it was 
offered to her after her bitter complaints of her treat- 
ment is, in my view, the best proof that she was not 
capable of independent rule. 

Ferdinand died in January 1516, leaving the whole 
of his realms to his grandson Charles in Flanders, in 
view of Joan's 'mental incapacity.' He tried almost 
with his last breath to divide Spain for the benefit of 
his younger son, Ferdinand ; but was overborne by 
the remonstrances of his Council. Jimenez was ap- 
pointed to be Regent until the new King arrived ; and 
when Cardinal Adrian, Charles's ambassador, claimed 
the Regency in virtue of a secret authority he pro- 
duced, Jimenez accepted him as colleague, but made 
him a cypher. Up to this period Joan had been under 
the care of Ferdinand's faithful Aragonese friend, 
Mosen Ferrer, the man whom rumour accused of 
having poisoned Philip : whilst her principal lady in 
waiting was the Dowager Countess of Salinas. The 
personal guard of the Queen was entrusted to the in- 
corruptible Monteros de Espinosa, and there were some 
companies of Castilians on duty in, and around, the 
palace. Mosen Ferrer was hated, especially by the 
townspeople of Tordesillas and by the Castilian 
attendants^ of Joan, because it was asserted that he 
had treated the Queen cruelly, and had not attempted 
to cure her. He gave strict orders that Joan should 

1 And at a later period, when that danger was at an end, the fear of 
scandal being caused in a court so slavishly Catholic by Joan's violent 
hatred of the religious services. 


not be told of her father's death ; but such news could 
not be hidden, for all Castile was astir to know what 
was coming next. 

Many of the nobles were around young Ferdinand, 
and were claiming Castile for him, in accordance with 
the old King's penultimate wish ; and not a few were 
looking towards Queen Joan. When she first heard 
the news she was disturbed to know that Jimenez was 
notion the spot when the King died, but was tran- 
quilised_ to learn that he was on the way, and would 
promptly assume the government. No sooner was it 
known in Tordesillas that Ferdinand was dead than 
the townspeople and the Castiliaq guards endeavoured 
to enter the Queen's apartments and expel Mosen 
Ferrer : but the latter and the Monteros de Espinosa l 
stood firm, and for weeks the feud continued. The 
Guards brought an exorcising priest to cast out the 
devils that afflicted the Queen ; but Ferrer would not 
let them enter the room ; though they got into an ante- 
chamber, where, quite unknown to the Queen, the 
exerciser performed his futile incantations through a 
hole in the door. As soon as Jimenez had established 
himself in the regency, he sent the Bishop of Majorca 
to set matters right in Tordesillas. Ferrer, intensely 
indignant at the accusations against him, wrote a letter 
to the Regent, which, being read between the lines, 
tells us much. How could he hope to cure the Queen 
when her own father could not do so ? and how could 
he be so bad a man as they say, if wise King Ferdi- 
nand entrusted his daughter to his care ? This does 
not seem very convincing : but when he tries to excuse 

1 This strangely privileged corps has always had the duty to guard the 
sovereigns of Castile personally inside their apartments. The men are 
all drawn by right from the inhabitants of the town of Espinosa only. 


himself Ferrer makes matters much worse. It was, 
he says, only to prevent the Queen from starving her- 
self to death that he had put her to the torture (dar 
cuerda). He complains bitterly that though he is not 
dismissed he is not allowed to go near the Queen, for 
fear he should injure her health. Jimenez, probably 
recognising that Ferrer had thought more of Aragonese 
interests than of the health of Joan, thereupon let him 
go, and appointed the Duke__of__Estrada to be her 

""The first instructions sent by the new King Charles, 
whose age was barely sixteen, to the Regent Jimenez 
concerned Joan. Her custody was so important, he 
said, that he agreed, in view of the dissensions amongst 
Spaniards, that a Fleming should guard her. Until 
one was appointed he directed that ' whilst she was to 
be very well treated, she was to be so closely guarded 
that if any body should attempt to thwart my good 
intentions they may not be able to do it. It is more 
my duty than that of any one to care for the honour, 
contentment, and solace of the Queen ; and if any one 
else attempts to interfere it will be with an evil object. 1 
Nevertheless many did attempt to interfere by whisper- 
ing doubts to Joan of her Flemish eldest son, in the 
interests of his young brother Ferdinand, whom his 
mother and all Spaniards loved best ; and when in 
September 1517 one of the monteros approached her 
and said : ' Madam, our sovereign lord King Charles, 
your highness' son, has arrived in Spain,' Joan burst 
forth in a great rage. ' I alone am Queen : my son 

1 Calendar, Spanish State Papers, Supplement to vol. i. All the docu- 
ments quoted in narrating this period of Joan's life are from the same 
source, and from the collection of the Royal Academy of History (Rodri- 
guez Villa). 


ChadesJs but the prince,' and she always resisted call- 
ing him King thenceforward. 

Charles and his sister Leonora came to Tordesillas 
to see their mother in December. Charles's tutor and 
counsellor, Chievres, first saw Joan to break to her the 
news of the presence of her children ; and when, im- 
mediately afterwards, they entered the room and knelt 
before their mother, she was overcome with joy to see 
those whom she had left as little children twelve years 
before, now in the best period of adolescence. When 
Charles and his sister had retired, Chievres lost no time 
in saying that in order to relieve the Queen, and 
accustom Charles to rule^ it would be well to entrust 
the government of Spain to him. Joan made no great 
objection to this ; but it is clear that her intention was, 
that he should administer the government for her and 
not rule on his own account as he subsequently did; 
and when, a few months afterwards, Charles met the 
Cortes at Valladolid they would only confirm his power 
as joint sovereign, jealous as they were of Flemings, 
on condition that he swore that if ever Joan recovered 
her faculties he would resign the government to her. 1 
i Thenceforward Joan, though her name appeared for 
years on decrees and proclamations, was politically 

1 By a long series of intrigues Chievres had forced the hands of Jimenez 
to have Charles and Joan proclaimed joint sovereigns even before the 
arrival of the former. The Pope and the Emperor had been persuaded 
to address Charles as Catholic King upon Ferdinand's death ; but in the 
face of the discontent of the Castilian nobles it v/as necessary for Charles 
at last to make all manner of promises as to his future residence in Spain, 
respect for Spanish traditions, and avoidance of using Spanish money for 
foreign purposes, as well as that to which reference is made in the text 
with regard to Joan, before he could be fully acknowledged. He broke 
most of his pledges at once, and so precipitated the great rising of the 
Comuneros. See ' Vie de Chievres ' by Varilla. 


During his stay at Tordesillas, Charles was dis- 
tressed to see the sad fate of his young sister, 
Katharine, now aged eleven. Joan was fiercely 
attached to her, and would hardly let her out of her 
sight. The child's rooms were behind those of the 
Queen, and could only be reached with Joan's know- 
ledge ; little Katharine's sole amusement being to look 
through a window which had been specially cut for her, 
and watch the people going to the opposite church, 
and the children playing in the side lane that led to 
the river, who were encouraged by money to play 
there for her amusement. She never left the palace, 
and was dressed in mean rags, such as the Queen 
herself wore, and Charles, knowing that the Queen 
would never let the child go willingly, somewhat 
cruelly lanne_d to have her kidnapped. He caused 
a way into her apartment to be broken through a 
tapestry-covered wall from an adjoining gallery ; and 
the girl and her female attendants were carried away 
at dead of night to a large force of horsemen and 
ladies awaiting her on the opposite side of the bridge 
across the Douro ; and thence spirited away to Valla- 
dolid, where, dressed in fitting splendour, she was 
lodged in her sister Leonora's palace. When, in the 
morning, Joan disco yer_ed_her loss, she was incon- 
solable. She would neither eat, drink, nor sleep, she 
said, until her child was restored to her, and after two 
days^Bad passed, and she still stood firm, the King 
had~tcf be asked what was to be done. He was loath 
to give up the education of his sister ; for princesses 
were valuable dynastic and international assets ; but 
there was no other way but to send her back. Charles 
accompanied her to Tordesillas, and made terms with 
Joan ; the girl must have proper companions and 


attendants, she must dress suitably to her rank, and 
she must be allowed some little relaxation and liberty 
outside the palace. To this Joan consented, and 
Katharine lived with her until her marriage with the 
King of Portugal six years later. 

In March 1518, Charles appointed to the custody of 
the Queen, the Marquis of Denia, who held her until 
his death, and was succeeded by his son. Soon after 
his appointment, he wrote a letter to the King which 
lifts the veil considerably on Joan's condition. She 
tried, he says, persistently and with artful words, 
remarkable for one in her condition, to persuade him 
to take her out of her prison, and to summon the 
nobles of Castile, as she was discontented at the way 
she was being kept out of the government, and wished 
to complain. He details the excuses with which he 
put her requests aside, and evidently looks upon her 
blandishments as wiles to escape ; but assures Charles, 
as he did for many years afterwards, that * nothing 
should be done against his interests,' whatever that 
may have meant. But even in this letter we see signs 
of Joan's undoubted madness. A day or two before 
she had thrown some pitchers at two of her women, 
and hurt them ; and when Denia went with a grave 
face to her and said, ' How is this, my lady ? This is 
a strange way to treat your servants ; your mother 
treated hers better ;' Joan rose hurriedly, and the very 
act of her rising sent her servants scurrying off in 
a fright. ' I am not so violent as to do you any 
injury,' she said ; and so began again, and for the next 
five hours, to try by wheedling to get him to take her 
out, 'for she could not bear these women.' 

In reply to this, Charles warned Denia that his 
conversations with the Queen must never be over- 


heard by anybody, and that all his letters about her 
must be strictly secret. Thus every few days news of his 
mother reached the young King, sometimes reporting 
improvement, sometimes the reverse ; but always harping^ 
upon her desire to get out, her dislike of her woman 
attendants, and her extreme irregularity in getting up 
ari6 r ~eating, which she often did only at intervals of 
two days. At this time, too, began to develop her 
great repugnance to attend mass. The women seem 
to have been a great source of trouble to every one. 
They were, it appears, always gadding about the town, 
telling people of what passed in the palace, and what 
the Queen said, especially about religion, and her 
desire to go out, and to summon the grandees. What 
was worse, they defied Denia to dismiss them, until 
the King gave him full authority over them, and 
brought them to reason. In the autumn of the same 
year, 1518, there was a visitation of plague in the 
country, though Tordesillas had not suffered much, 
owing to the scrupulous care taken to isolate the place. 
The removal of the Queen, however, had to be con- 
sidered. ' If it be necessary,' wrote the Marquis, ' we 
shall want saddle mules with black velvet housings for 
the Queen and the Infanta. ... It will also be 
necessary to take the body of the King, your father, 
and if this has to be done, we must put into proper 
order the car in which it was brought here, as it is now 
dismantled. Charles was against any removal if it 
could possibly be avoided, but if quite unavoidable, 
the Queen might be taken to the monastery of St. 
Paul at Moralejo, near Arevalo. If she refused to go, 
she must be taken by force ; but with as much respect 
as possible, and with every precaution against her 
endeavouring to stay in the open on the way. If she 


wanted the corpse of Philip to go with her, a dummy 
coffin might be made up and carried, whilst the real 
one with the body remained behind at Tordesillas. 

The plague passed away, and the move was not 
made ; and so things passed with Joan as before. 
Squalid and unhappy, she resisted as_ obstinately as 
ever the pressure put upon her to attend mass, though 
more "than once she was violently desirous of going 
over in Holy Week, or other anniversaries, to the 
convent church of St Clara, and on several occasions 
had her clothes washed in preparation for the great 
event ; which Denia himself was inclined to allow, 
under strict guard, as people in the town were tattling 
about her being kept a prisoner. ^Grsal-fiffarts were 
rnade_byJjLiari^de Avila, the chaplain, to bring Joan to 
a better frame of^mind about religion ; and in June 
1519 he writes a curious letter to the King, beseeching 
him to do his duty by his mother ; * especially for the 
salvation of her soul.' Perhaps in answer to this 
Charles ordered Denia to insist that the Queen should 
hear mass. She had wished it to be said at the end of a 
corridor, instead of in a special room adjoining her 
own, as Denia desired, and, at last, rather than she 
should not hear it at all, she was allowed to have her 
way ; and an altar and chapel were screened off by 
black velvet hangings at the end of the corridor. She 
went through the service with great devotion until the 
evangelium and the pax were brought to her, when 
she refused them, but motioned that they should be 
administered to her daughter. 

This attendance at mass continued for some time, to 
the immense jubilation of Denia and the priests ; but 
as the day approached when Charles was to leave 
Spain for Germany to claim the imperial crown, in 


consequence of Maximilian's death (January 1519), the 
effervescence and discontent in Castile at the prospect 
of an absentee King drawing money from Spain for 
foreign purposes, penetrated in some mysterious way 
the prison-palace of Joan the Mad. For hours the 
Queen railed at Denia for not having summoned the 
Grandees, as she had requested him to do so often. 
She was being disgracefully treated, she said ; every- 
thing belonged to her, and yet she was being denied 
what she required. She excitedly summoned the 
treasurer, and demanded money of him, which he was 
not allowed to give her. So vehement did she 
become, that at last Denia forbade any one to speak to 
her at all. She would go to Valladolid, she said ; and 
at another time she would dress to go over to the 
convent church, though she was not allowed to go. She 
ordered Denia to write to her son, asking that she should 
be better treated ; and that the grandees should 
come to her to consult about the realm. Denia, at his 
wit's end to pacify her, on one occasion, for, as he 
says, 'she uses words fit to make the very stones rise,' 
had the inspiration to mention her father, as if he were 
still alive, and at the head of affairs ; and for a time all 
the disagreeable answers given to her were said to be 
by order of King Ferdinand, for whose wisdom she 
had a great respect. But this lie gave her a new idea. 
If her father were alive, he could help her; and she 
ordered Denia to write and tell him that she could no 
longer stand the life she led. She was badly treated, 
and as a prisoner, her son, Ferdinand, had been taken 
away from her, and she feared they were going to rob 
her of her daughter Katharine ; but, if they did, she 
would kill herself. Denia fell more and more into her 
black books, as the discontent at Charles's departure 


grew in the country, and echoes reached the Queen's 
prison of the public indignation at her seclusion, and 
wild rumours of intentions to rescue her. On one 
occasion (July 1520) she ordered Denia to open a 
doorway from her apartments into the corridor where 
mass was said. He was suspicious and refused, 
whereupon she fell into a violent rage with him, and 
heaped upon him outrageous words without measure. 
No wonder the poor man deplores that everybody 
believes he keeps her prisoner (as indeed he did, 
though he says not), and he advocates her entire 
seclusion, although the best way to undeceive the 
people, he says, would be to let them see her, and 
recognise her sad condition. 

Charles sailed from Corunna on 2Oth May 1520. 
During the time he had been in Spain he, or rather 
his rude, greedy gang of Flemings, had driven 
Castilians to desperation. Jimenez, who had held 
the country for him in his absence in the face of 
the nobles and young Ferdinand, had been con- 
temptuously dismissed and probably poisoned on 
Charles' arrival : young Ferdinand had been packed 
off to Flanders : Flemings had crowded all the great 
posts, to the exclusion of Spaniards : jo>an was not 
presented before the Cortes as Queen jointly with 

*"** *** - " "~ w* " "" 

her son,_as she should have been ; and now^ to crown 
all, the Constitution of Castile had been violated by 
the insolent young foreigner who was to rule, not 
Spain alone, but half the world. He had held a 
Castilian Cortes outside the limits of Castile itself, 
and had coerced the deputies to vote him large sums 
of money to be spent away from Spain. The nobles 
were already seething with discontent, and now the 
people in the towns, who paid all the taxes, rose and 


hanged some of the deputies who had voted away 
their money for an absent king. 

Then, like^a, weil-laid- - 4ay all- Castile blazed into 
revolt. It jtvas^ j^reat social, industrial and political 
struggle, which ended in the financial impotence of 
trie Cortes of Castile, and the decadence of the 
Castilian nobility. The complicated details of the 
Tevolt cannot here be told, but only those points in 
which Joan was personally concerned. The governing 
committee of the revolutionary Comuneros met at 
Avila at the end of July 1520, headed by the gentry, 
and, to some extent, secretly encouraged by the great 
nobles. The Flemish Regent, Cardinal Adrian, was 
paralysed with dismay at the extent of the rising, and 
did nothing ; whilst to the cry of ' Long live the King 
and Queen : down with evil ministers,' every Spanish 
heart responded. The manifesto published by the 
committee announced that the revolutionaries .had 
risen in the interests of the imprisoned Queea,4^oari ; 
ancTearly in August a committee of the council of 
Castile, the supreme executive body of the Regent's 
government, with its president, Bishop Rojas, pre- 
sented themselves before Joan in her palace of 
Tordesillas, to beg her to sign decrees against those 
who were in arms. Joan was to all appearance calm, 
and replied to the demand for her signature, ' It is 
now fifteen years that I have been kept from the 
government and badly treated ; and this marquis here' 
(pointing to Denia), 'is he who has lied to me most.' 
Denia, confused, replied : 'It is true, my lady, that I 
have lied to you, but I have done so to overcome 
certain prejudices of yours. I may tell you now, that 
your father is dead, and I buried him.' The Queen 
shed tears at this, and turning to Rojas, murmured 


between her sobs, ' Bishop, believe me, all that I see 
and hear is like a dream.' Rojas pressed his point. 
' My lady, I can assure you that your signature to 
these papers will work a greater miracle than Saint 
Francis ; for, after God, in your hands now rests the 
salvation of these realms.' 'Rest now,' replied the 
Queen, 'and come back another day.' 

On the morrow the committee of the council saw 
the Queen again, and as there was no seat but hers 
in the room, the president mentioned that it was not 
meet that they should be kept standing. ' Bring a 
seat for the council, ' directed the Queen ; but, as the 
attendants were bringing in chairs, she said, * No, no, 
not chairs, but a bench ; that was the rule in my 
mother's time : but the bishop may have a chair.' 
After another long conference the Queen directed the 
committee to return to Valladolid and discuss again, 
in full council the papers to which they requested 
her signature ; and thus, unsatisfied, the members left 
her, only to find themselves prisoners at Valladolid, 
which was now in the hands of the rebels, who were 
rapidly marching upon Tordesillas at the urgent request 
of the townspeople of the latter place, to save Queen 
Joan from being carried away by the government 

The rebels had no time to communicate with Joan 
as to their aims before they appeared outside the walls 
of the town on the 2Qth August. As soon as Joan 
learnt of their coming she ordered the townspeople 
to welcome them ; and so, amidst salute of cannon 
and enthusiastic cheers, Padilla, the rebel leader, and 
his host were escorted into the town, and passed before 
the Queen, who stood in a balcony of the palace. 
After resting and changing their garments, Padilla 



and other chiefs sought audience of the Queen. Joan 
received him smilingly. ' Who are you ? ' she asked, 
as he knelt before her. ' I am Juan Padilla, my lady,' 
he replied, ' son of the captain-general of Castile, a 
servant of Queen Isabel, as I am a servant of your 
Highness.' And then the insurgent chief told the 
astonished Queen all that had happened since old 
King Ferdinand died : how the evil foreign advisers 
of young Charles had brought all Spain into revolt, 
and that Padilla and the commons of Castile were 
ready to die in the service of their own Queen Joan. 
She expressed her wonderment at all this. jj>he had 
been kept a prisoner, she said, for nearly sixteen 
years, and Denia, her gaoler, had hidden every thing 
from" Her. IF she had been sure of her father's death 
srfe would have gone forth and have prevented some of 
this trouble in her realm. Then, addressing Padilla, 
she said : ' Go now ; I order you to exercise the 
authority of captain-general of the realm. Look to 
all things carefully, until I order otherwise.' 

Joan thus made herself the ostensible head of the 
revolution ; and on many subsequent occasions con- 
ferred with the leaders in arms at Tordesillas, fully 
approving of their proceedings and aims. She tried 
to exonerate Charles on account of his youth and 
inexperience of Spain, but clearly indicated her 
intention to govern for herself in future. Most 
important of all, she authorised the leaders to 
summon the Cortes to meet at Tordesillas. The 
weak, foreign Cardinal Regent could only ascribe 
Joan's attitude to her madness ; though, as he 
wrote to Charles, the people regard it as a proof 
of her sanity. Denia was now almost a prisoner, 
but the revolutionary leaders could never persuade 


Joan to sign his formal dismissal, though they, on 
their own authority, turned both the marquis and his 
wife unceremoniously out of the town when Torde- 
sillas became the centre of the rebel government in 
September, and the Cortes held its sittings there. 1 

Joan met her Parliament in the hall of the palace, 
andTIstened patiently to the lengthy harangues of the 
deputies. In her reply, which seems to have been 
extempore, she spoke at great length of her father, 
whose death had been concealed from her. During 
his life she was at ease, because she knew no one 
would dare to do harm. But she now saw how the 
country and herself had been abused and deceived, to 
the injury of the people whom she loved so much. 
She wished she were in some place where she could 
direct affairs better ; but as her father had placed her 
there, either because of the woman who took her 
mother's place, or for some other reason, she could do 
no more than she had done. She wondered that the 
Spaniards had not avenged themselves before upon 
the^foreigners who had come with her son. She 
thought at first that these foreigners had meant well 
to her boys ; whom they had, she was told, taken back 
to Flanders ; but she saw differently now, and she 
hoped no one here had any evil meaning towards her 

1 Denia told the rebels that he had appealed to the Queen for a 
certificate of his dismissal, but what he really asked for was her written 
order to stay. In reply, she told him to go about his business and talk 
to her no more. He was, however, successful in getting a letter from 
the young Infanta to the revolutionary Junta praying them not to send 
the marchioness away, but it had no effect. The Infanta got into sad 
disgrace with her brother for her alleged kindness and sympathy with 
the rebels, but she spiritedly defended herself, and appealed to this letter 
of hers in favour of the Denias as proof that she did what she could in 
very difficult and dangerous circumstances. (Letters from Simancas 
copied by Senor Rodriguez Villa.) 


sons. Even if she were not the Queen she ought to 
have been better treated, for, at least, she was the 
daughter of great sovereigns ; and she was in favour of 
the Comuneros, because she saw they were anxious to 
remedy the abuses of which she complained. All this 
seemed quite sane, but at the end of the speech there 
is a pathetic ring of self-distrust that tells the sad tale. 
' To the extent of my power I will see to affairs, either 
here or elsewhere. But if, whilst I am here, I cannot 
do much it will be because I am obliged to spend some 
time in calming my heart and strengthening my spirit, 
on the death of the King, my husband. But as long 
as I am in disposition for it, I will attend to affairs.' 1 

The democratic excesses of the revolutionary Com- 
mittee, together with the diplomacy of Charles, were 
gradually enlisting the great nobles on the side of the 
government. Although Joan's attendants generally 
were in her favour, and continued to assert her sanity 
now they had got rid of the Denias, her confessor, 
Juan de Avila, was always secretly faithful to the 
Regent ; and whispered warnings constantly in the 
Queen's ear. It was evident after a short time also 
to^the_reyolutionary junta thaT"jrrafrwas not^ane ; as 
they wrote from T*orctesillas to ShlT city of Valladolid 
saying that they had summoned all the best physicians 
in Spain to her ; and, apparently finding human aid 
powerless, they had ordered processions and prayers 
for her restoration to health. The Regent, indeed, 
writing to Charles in October, says that the Queen 
cannot last long if she does not escape from the power 
of the rebel government ; as she was much worse after 

1 It was one of the principal allegations of the government, that, although 
Joan never signed anything for the rebels, her verbal orders were at once 
taken down in notarial form and acted upon as royal decrees. 


Denia went. She no longer sleeps in a bed, he says, 
nor eats regularly, but keeps her food all around her 
cold until it goes bad. At another time, after she 
had eaten nothing for three days, she was given the 
accumulated food of the whole period at once. The 
government party asserted that all the poor woman's 
crazy caprices were acceded to, and even threats 
resorted to by the junta, in order to get her to sign the 
decrees necessary to legitimise their action ; but she 
continued obstinate in her refusal to put her hand to 
anything. 1 

The junta began to grow desperate ; for the forces 
against them were growing daily, whilst they.jnade.Jio 
progress, depending, as they did, for legality upon 
drJfaining the signature of a lunatic. They tried to 
bribe the poor woman to sign by promising to take 
HeT~a way "from Tordesillas ; but that was fruitless : on 
another occasion, in the middle of the night, a hue and 
cry was raised that the Constable of Castile with a 
great force of government troops was outside, and the 
Queen was told that the ' tyrants ' had come to seize 
her. ' Tell the Constable,' she replied, ' not to do any- 
thing until the daylight comes ; and then I will see 
about it.' Things thus _ went frpjn bad .._to worse for 
the^ rebellion. This was the one chance of -Joan's, life, 
and she missed it. For months she trifled and smiled 
upon the rebel junta, but would sign nothing; and^ 
early in December the government troops were strong 
enough to make a dash for Tordesillas, which they 
took by assault after four hours of desperate fighting ; 
the rebel junta flying in a panic from the place. Joan 
welcomed the victors with a smiling faceT She had 

1 One of her demands was that all her women should be sent away, as 
they were. Her hatred of her own sex was remarkable. 


been expecting and wishing they would come, she 
said ; and had ordered that the nobles should be 
admitted before the fight began. 

During the battle she with the Infanta had left the 
palace, carrying her jewels with them, and had ordered 
the corpse of Philip to be taken from the church and 
carried with them out of the town. Before it could be 
done, in the confusion, the royal troops entered, and 
they found the Queen and her daughter crouched in 
the doorway of the palace trembling with fright. The 
great nobles who came to the capture of Tordesillas 
were full of lip service to Joan, and she, flattered 
apparently by their deference, professed delight at 
their coming ; but from the moment the rebel junta 
fled before the^Constable's troops at Tordesillas with- 
out her signature, Joan was a closely watched prisoner. 
Denia and his wife", with their "harsh methods, came 
back, to the loudly expressed disgust, not only of Joan, 
but of some of the greatest of the Castilian nobles, who 
saw how his presence irritated her ; I but Charles would 
permit no change in his mother's keeper, for he knew 
he could depend upon Denia to keep her close. 

In April 1521, the Comuneros were finally crushed 
at the battle of Villalaj;, and the yoke of imperialism 
forged unwittingly by Ferdinand the Catholic, and 
open-eyed by Charles the Emperor, was fixed upon 
tr!e~ neck of Spain until it strangled her. Thence- 

1 The Admiral of Castile and other nobles at the time endeavoured to 
prevail upon Joan to take the direction of affairs under their guidance ; 
but she refused just as obstinately to give her signature to them as she 
had to the rebels. Denia writes to the Emperor that the Admiral is very 
anxious to cure the Queen ; but in no case will it be allowed without the 
Emperor's permission. 'Besides, it would be another resurrection of 
Lazarus. 5 The bitterest complaints of Denia and his methods were sent 
by the great nobles to Charles, whilst Denia could say no good word for 


forward Joan was but a shadow in the world, to which 
she no longer appertained. 

The person most to be pitied, until marriage rescued 
her in 1524, was the poor young Infanta Katharine. 
The Denias came back vowing vengeance against 
every one who they thought had been polite to the 
rebels, and the Infanta, as well as the Queen, had 
to feel their petty tyranny. The girl wrote indignantly 
to her brother of the wretched straits to which she 
was reduced by them, and also of the persecution of 
her mother by them. Amongst other complaints, the 
following may be quoted. ' For the love of God, pray 
order that if the Queen wishes to walk in the gallery 
looking on to the river, or in the matted corridor, or 
to leave her chamber for pastime, they shall not 
prevent her from doing so. And pray do not allow 
the servants and daughters of the marchioness, or 
others, to go to my closet through the Queen's rooms, 
but only the persons who serve ; because, in order 
that the Queen may not see them, the marchioness 
orders the women to shut the Queen up in her 
chamber, and will not allow her to go into the passages 
or hall, but keep her in the chamber where there is 
no light but candles ; for there is nowhere else for 
her to go, and she will not leave the chamber until 
she is dragged out : or, if she would, the women are 
there to prevent her.' This is the Infanta's own 
version ; but the Denias' story is that the young 
princess is not allowed by her mother to see any one 
but a common servant, and has not the fit company 
of ladies. To make matters worse for the girl the 
Denias accused her of favouring the rebels, which she 
indignantly denied, and made peace successfully with 
her brother. Her departure from Tordesillas for her 


marriage afflicted Joan greatly, and for the rest of the 
Queen's life there was no one to stand between the 
emperor and her gaolers. 

During the long years of Joan's seclusion, the 
principal feature of her aberration was its anti- 
religious tendency. It is true that she often demanded 
the summoning of the nobles, and continued "her 
eccentricity in eating and sleeping, but the strange 
antipathy she showed, and often violently expressed, 
to the services of her church, was a scandal worse 
than any in a country where thousands of people 
were being burnt for a tenth part of what the Queen 
allowed herself to say and do. The whole of the 
emperor's system was based upon the enforcement of 
universal religious orthodoxy by Spain : and it was 
a bitter affliction for him to know that his mother, 
and rightful Queen, was madly opposed, at intervals, 
to the ceremonies imposed upon the rest of Spaniards. 
Denia in his letters to the Emperor, on several occa- 
sions, drops dark hints that torture should be applied 
as it evidently had been applied to Joan years 
before by Mosen Ferrer. Speaking of her obstinacy 
soon after the rebel defeat, and advising that she 
should be transferred to the fortress of Arevalo, 
which he thought safer and more loyal to Charles, 
he says : * Your Majesty may be sure that this will 
not be done with the Queen's goodwill, for it is not 
to be expected that a person who refuses to do 
anything beneficial, either for her body or her soul, 
but does quite the contrary, will agree to this. And. 
in good truth, if your Majesty would use pressure l 

1 Mr Bergenroth translated ' hacerle premia] ( applying torture,' and 
it may be so translated. I prefer, however, the wider interpretation ; 
though, no doubt, Denia meant to recommend physical coercion. 


upon her in many things, you would serve God and 
benefit her Highness, for people in her condition 
really need it. Your grandmother, Queen Isabel, 
served her Highness, her daughter, in this way, but 
your Majesty will do as you think best.' 

Denia, whilst recommending the employment of force 
for the removal of the Queen, did not wish to appear 
personally as the instrument, but recommended that the 
President of the Council of Castile should be sent with 
the Emperor's order for her to submit, and if she 
resisted, to have her seized and put into a litter by force 
in the night time, and carried off. The removal of the 
Queen, often urged by Denia for years, on the ground 
of the accessibility of Tordesillas to disaffected people, 
does not seem ever to have taken place. 1 Denia's 
desire to lodge Joan in a strong isolated fortress is also 
explained by hirn_ on the ground of the scandal caused 
by-the Queen's religious attitude. In the letter just 
quoted, where he recommends torture, he relates that 
on Christmas night, whilst early matins were being 
sung in the presence of the Infanta, the Queen came in 
search of her daughter, and screamed out in anger for 
them to clear the altar of everything upon it ; and she 
had to be forcibly taken back to her rooms. He relates 
also that : ' She often goes into the gallery overlooking 
the river, and calls to any one she sees to summon the 
troops to kill each other. Your majesty may judge 
from all this what is best to do, and what we have to 
put up with.' 

These hints at personal punishment of the Queen 
are repeated again ancTagaTn over a series of years by 
Denial thotrgh7~5o^faF as can be gathered from the 

1 The Emperor ordered her to be taken to Toro in 1527, but Denia was 
afraid of forcing her to go. 


Emperor's replies, he gave no instructions for it to be 
done. In 1525 Denia writes : 'Nothing would do so 
much good as some pressure (i.e., punishment or 
torture), although it is a very serious thing for a subject 
to think of applying such to his Sovereign. Perhaps 
it will be best to try what effect a good priest would 
have upon Her Highness ... a Dominican would 
be best, as she does not like Franciscans.' On 
another occasion soon afterwards, when Charles had 
decided to have his mother secretly carried by night to 
the impregnable castle of Toro, not far from Tordesillas, 
Denia remarks that he had taken measures that no 
persons should be in the streets to witness her arrival, 
* for, in good truth, I myself am ashamed of what I hear 
and see.' 

And SQ from year to year the Queen's religious 
aberrations consigned her to constantly increased 
seclusion to avoid scandal. The Emperor and his 
only son Philip visited the Queen at least on one occa- 
sion at Tordesillas, and during the regency of Philip in 
1552, whilst Charles was in Germany, the Prince, 
much more rigidly devout even than his father, and 
shocked at the continued refusal of his grandmother 
to attend the services of the Church and fulfil her 
religious duties, sent to Tordesillas the saintly Jesuit 
Francis of Borgia, Duke of Gandia, to exert his influ- 
ence upon the Queen. His success was very small. 
For weeks Joan refused to conform, until, at last 
Borgia persuaded her to make what is called a ' general 
confession,' and he thereupon gave her absolution ; l 

1 Denia's account of the interview with Borgia (confirmed by the latter) 
is extremely curious. The priestly Duke said, as she would do nothing 
else, she might recite the ' General Confession,' and he would absolve her. 
' Can you absolve ? ' she asked. ' Yes ! ' he replied, ' with the exception of 
certain cases.' * Then,' said the Queen, * you recite the General Confes- 


but directly he left she relapsed into her former in- 
difference again. 

When Philip was leaving Spain to marry Mary, 
Queen of England, in 1554, he sent Father Borgia 
again to try to bring Joan to her religious duties. She 
heard the good father patiently, and when he had 
finished his exhortations, she endeavoured to make 
terms. Yes, she would hear mass, and confess, and 
receive absolution, and the rest of it, if the women 
attendants upon her were sent away, as they always 
mocked her whilst she was at her devotions. ' If that 
be so,' replied Father Borgia, 'the Inquisition shall 
deal with them as heretics ; ' and he at once wrote to 
Philip recommending that they should pretend to hand 
the women over to the Holy Office, place crosses and 
images of saints about the Queen's rooms, say daily 
mass on the corridor altar, and if the Queen objected, 
tell her that it was done by the order of the Inquisition. 
He also proposed to bring some priestly exercisers to 
cast out the devils that afflicted the Queen ; but this 
Philip would not allow. The effect of Borgia's efforts 
on this occasion was, that when Prince Philip on his 
way to Corunna to sail for England called at Torde- 
sillas, he found Joan to his delight going through the 
ordinary religious rites without resistance. But her 
devotion was clearly only on the surface, and her new 
confessor Friar Luis de la Cruz, soon reported that he 
dared not expose himself to the peril of committing a 

sion.' This Borgia did, and asked her whether she said the same. ' Yes,' 
she replied ; and ' she then permitted him to absolve her.' It will be 
seen that there was not much submission in this. Only a day or so after- 
wards she appears to have flown into a terrible passion because some new 
hangings and gold ornaments had been placed on the corridor altar ; and 
she refused to eat until they had been removed, and the altar left plain as 


grave act of sacrilege by administering the sacraments 
to the Queen, and resigned his office. It appears, 
amongst other things, that she always shut her eyes at 
the elevation of the Host at the mass, and on one 
occasion she violently told her attendants to throw 
away the blessed tapers they carried before her, as she 
said they stank. 

Since the summer of 1553, Joan, then an old woman, 
had suffered from swelling of the lower limbs, which 
almost crippled her; and in February 1555, after a 
bath of very hot water, the legs broke out into open 
wounds. Thenceforward the course of her illness pre- 
sented an extraordinary resemblance to that which 
proved mortal in the case of her grandson, Philip n. 
Dreadful gangrenous sores, which she refused to have 
dressed or washed, caused her the most awful torment. 
She paid no heed to the directions of doctors or nurses ; 
and when her granddaughter, the Infanta Joan, came over 
from Valladolid with the best medical men procurable, 
the Queen violently refused to see them or allow them 
to examine her. Thus, lying in repulsive squalor and 
filth, the poor creature was told that Father Borgia 
had come to see her. She angrily refused to listen to 
him at first, but she was weak, and his persistence 
seems finally to have conquered. By and bye she_ 
admitted that she was sorry for her errors, and de- 
plored the divagations of her spirit. At the request of 
Borgia she repeated the apostle's creed and confessed ; 
but just as he was about to administer the viaticum, 
she expressed some scruple at receiving it. Learned 
theologians were summoned in haste from Salamanca ; 
and a few days afterwards, on the nth April 1555, the 
famous Dr Soto was closeted with her for hours. His 
report was that, though she had privately told him 


things that consoled him, the Queen was not fit to 
receive the Eucharist ; though extreme unction might 
be administered. 

That same night the^last_rites were performed. 
Leaning over the dying woman with a crucifix, the 
priest told her that the last hour for her was come, and 
that it behoved her to ask God for pardon. By signs 
and gestures of grief and contrition, she expressed what 
her poor palsied tongue refused to utter ; and Father 
Borgia, believing her beyond speech, asked her to 
signify whether he should recite the creed for her. To 
the astonishment of every one she suddenly recovered 
her power of utterance, and replied, ' You begin it, and 
I will repeat it after you.' When the last amen was 
said, the saintly Jesuit placed a crucifix to the lips of 
the dying woman. * Christ crucified aid me,' she had 
strength yet to say, arid then Joan the Mad passed to 
_lhe land where all are sane. For twenty years her 
body lay in the Convent of St. Clara, opposite her 
prison palace ; upon the same spot where the coffin of 
her husband had rested for so many years ; and then, 
in 1574, she was carried at last to the sumptuous tomb 
at Granada, to join for the rest of time the dust of him 
that she had loved not wisely but too well. 

The foregoing account of the life of this most un- 
fortunate of queens, gathered entirely from the contem- 
porary statements of persons who knew her, tends 
irresistibly to the conclusion that her early rigid train- 
ing, followed by her life in Flanders, had implanted in 
her mind a dislike of the stern bigotry which charac- 
terised^the_religJQji of Spain under the influence of die 
Inquisition; and that jhisjiislikg grpw to WrpH wjhg n 
fier_jnind became permanently unsettled. Her strict 
seclusion and cruel treatment do not appear to have 


been so necessary for her own health, or even primarily 
for the public welfare, as for the interests of her father 
and son, whose autocratic power was threatened by any 
combination of nobles acting in her name, and whose 
policy largely depended upon the maintenance of strict 
religious orthodoxy. XQ leave at liberty and accessible 
a feeble-minded Queen who desired to govern through 
the nobles, and hated the religion of the Inquisition, 
would have been to invite disaster to the very basis 
upon which the vast edifice of Spanish autocratic power 
at its grandest was erected. 1 1 might have been better for 
Spain in the long run, but it would have been ruin for 
Ferdinand and Charles ; and to their interests succes- 
sively Joan the Mad was sacrificed. 

-^_- __*L- -Jr- 




-r THE ' 



IN the noble gallery at the Prado there hangs the full- 
length seated portrait of a lady of peculiarly modern 
aspect, painted by Titian from sketches and descrip- 
tions in his extreme old age. 1 Her sad, sweet smile, 
vague, lymphatic eyes, and high prominent forehead, 
give to the face a character of far-away ideality, such 
as marked so many of the members of her house : for 
this is Isabel, the consort of the Emperor^ and she, 
like the greater Isabel's mother, belonged to the fated 
royal family of Portugal, whose tainted blood so often 
carried to its possessors the mysticism that degenerates 
into madness. Throughout the poor lady's life of barely 
thirty-six years, she was overshadowed by the tremen- 
dous responsibility of being the mother of the Caesar's- 
children. During the long and frequent absences from 
"Spain of Charles v. in his life-struggle against France 
and heresy on the one side, and the powers of Islam 
on the other, the Empress Isabel, as Regent, con- 
trolled by a council mainly of churchmen, had to squeeze 
funds for the imperial wars from the commons of Castile, 
well nigh crushed into financial impotence since trie 
defeat of the parliamentary champions at Villalaj. 

Like all those who came into immediate contact with 
Charles in his imperial capacity, his wife was humbly 
subordinate to the overwhelming magnitude of the 

1 For particulars of this portrait, hitherto unknown, see ' Calendars of 
Spanish State Papers,' vol. viii., edited by Martin Hume. 



policy which he directed, and she had no share in 
moulding_events^ For her the glory was sufficient 
to have borne her husband a son who lived, besides 
daughters and two boys who died of epilepsy in infancy. 
The mother of Philip of Spain looked with reverential 
awe upon her own child, so great and important to man- 
kind was held to be the inheritance to which he was 
to succeed ; and when she flickered out of life in 1539, 
the boy of twelve was her main contribution and justifi- 
cation to a world which had only known her as Caesar's 
wife~, and^only remembered her as Philip's mother. 

In the atmosphere of hushed reverence and rigid 
sacrifice to imperial ends that filled the monastic court 
of Spain in the absence of the Emperor, Philip was 
never allowed to forget for an hour the destiny, with 
all its duties, its responsibilities, and its power, for 
which he was taught that God had specially selected 
him as son of his father. As a boy regent in the 
Emperor's first great trial of strength with the German 
Lutherans, his heart had ached at the sufferings of 
Spain from the cruel drain of blood and treasure for 
the war in which she had no direct concern ; but -when 
he dared, almost passionately, to remonstrate with his 
father at the ruin which he himself was forced to impose 
upon the people he loved, he was coldly reminded that 
it was the cause of God that he and his were fighting, 
and all earthly considerations must be sacrificed for its 
triumph. Philip was the son of his forbears, and he 
learnt his 16*55011 well." LikeTns grandmother Isabel, 
he had no love of cruelty for its own sake, but like her 
he held the mystic belief that he and the Most High 
were linked in cornrnunity of cause, and that the greater 
the suffering the greater the glory. He never spared 
himself or others when the cause for which he lived, 


the unification of the faith, demanded sacrifice ; but fate 
was cruel in the era she chose for him. The age when 
Charles and his son were pledged to force all men to 
take their faith unquestioned from Rome at the tips of 
Spanish pikes was that in which the rebellious Monk of 
Wittemburg had challenged Rome itself, and the world 
was throbbing with the new revelation, that beyond the 
trappings that man had hung upon the church, there was 
a God to whom all were equal, and to whom all might 
appeal direct. 

So, throughout the century of strife, both Charles 
and his son, rigid as they were, were always obliged to 
conciliate England, whatever its faith might be ;_for 
France, and heresy in their own dominions^were ever 
trieT nearest enemies; and for England permanently 
to have thrown in its lot with either of them would 
have consigned Spain to impotence. Henry vm. might 
defy the Pope, despoil the Church, and insultingly 
repudiate his blameless Spanish wife, but the Emperor 
dared not quarrel with him for long together, or provoke 
him too far. But, withal, it was a hard trial for the 
champion of orthodoxy to have to speak fair and softly 
to his heterodox, excommunicated uncle, and welcome 
alliance with the power that was a standing negation 
of the cause for which he lived. Still harder was 
it when Henry was dead ; for his personal prestige 
was great, and his professions of orthodoxy were 
emphatic, apart from his personal quarrel with the 
Papacy. But to him there succeeded a child-king ruled 
by men of small ability, determined to alter the faith of 
England itself, and make a durable friendship with 
Spain impossible. 

Then almost suddenly the whole aspect of affairs 
changed. It had been known for some time that the 


young King of England, Edward VL, was failing, and 
would probably die without issue ; but the uncertain 
element had been the extent of the Duke of Northumber- 
land's power and the strength of English Protestantism. 
Edward vi. died on the ;th July 1553, and the undig- 
nified collapse of Northumberland at once decided the 
Emperor's plans. The treachery ~of. Maurice_ of 
Saxony had brought Charles to the humiliating peace 
pfJPassau, and had made for ever impossible the realis- 
ation of the great dream of making Philip Emperor as 
well as King. It was the heaviest blow that Charles 
had ever suffered ; and, if he could have appreciated 
its significance, he would have seen that it proved the 
impossibility of the task he had undertaken. He was 
still at war with the enemy, France, who had supported 
his Lutheran princes, and he was burning to avenge 
the crowning disaster of Metz, when the death of the 
boy King of England opened to his mind's eye the 
gates of a shining future. The hollow crown of the 
Empire might go, with its poor patrimony and its 
turbulent Lutheran subjects, the fat Portuguese dowry 
he coveted for his son Philip might be cheerfully sacri- 
ficed ; but if only rich England could be joined in 
lasting bonds to Spain, then France would indeed be in 
the toils, Flanders and Italy safe, the road to unlimited 
expansion in the East open, and Spain, supreme, 
might give laws to Latin Christendom, and to heathen- 
dom beyond. The prize w r as worth bidding for, and 
Charles lost no time. 

In the brilliant summer weather of late July in 1553, 
a faded little woman with a white pinched face, no eye- 
browspand russet hair, rode irPa^blaze of triumph 
through the green-bordered roads of Suffolk and Essex 


towards London. Around her thronged a thousand 
gentlemen in velvet doublets and gold chains, whilst 
a great force of armed men followed to support if need 
be the right of Mary Queen of England. It was not 
much more tharTa fortnight since her brother had died, 
but into that time the poignant emotions of a century 
had been crammed. The traitors who had proclaimed 
Queen Jane had tumbled over each other to be the 
first to betray some of their companions, and all to dis- 
own the despotic craven who had led them, the 
wretched Northumberland ; Protestant London, even, 
had greeted with frantic joy the name of the Catholic 
Queen, whose right it knew, and whose unmerited 
sufferings it pitied ; but jit thirty- seven, an old maid, dis- 
illusioned and wearied by years of cruel injustice, Mary 
TudoFcame to herJieritage resigned ratherj;han elated. 
"Amongst the crowds of officials and gentlemen who 
rode out of London to pay homage to the new Queen, 
were two men, each pledged to outwit the other in his 
quest. They were of similar age, about fifty, both 
Frenchmen, though one was born in the Burgundian 
territory of the Franche Comte, and both were 
ambassadors ; one, Simon Renard, representing the 
Emperor, and the other, Antoine de Noailles, the 
King of France, and they went racing towards Chelms 
ford, each to try to win Queen Mary to the side of his 
master. Noailles was the more courtly and aristocratic ; 
and his insinuating grace made him a dangerous rival, 
for it hid a spirit that stopped at no falsity or treachery 
if it would serve his turn. But in gaining Mary Tudor 
he was fatally handicapped, though when she received 
him at New Hall she spoke so fairly that he thought 
he had succeeded. 1 For Simon Renard represented 

1 Ambassades de Noailles, vol. ii. p. 99. 


the power that throughout all the bitter trials of her 
life Mary had looked to as her only friend. Again and 
again the imperial ambassadors alone had dared to 
claim better treatment for her and her outraged mother ; 
and had threatened her father with vengeance if ill be- 
fell her ; whilst France had always taken the opposite 
side, and egged King Henry on to work his own will 
in despite of Spain and the empire. So, though Mary 
was diplomatic to Noailles she was friendly to Renard, 
for to him and his master she looked to keep secure 
her trembling throne. 

Already it was seen that the Queen must marry. 
She had been betrothed times out of number as an 
instrument of policy, but of her own will she desired no 
husband ^ and when Renard, in a long private chat 
with her at New Hall on the ist August, broached the 
subject, she told him that she knew her duty in that 
respect and would do it, but prayed for the guidance of 
the Emperor in her choice of a husband. She was no 
longer young, she said, and hoped that too youthful a 
husband would not be recommended to her. Renard 
knew that already English people had chosen as the 
Queen's prospective bridegroom young Courtenay, still 
in the Tower as a prisoner ; and that failing him, some 
had thought of Cardinal Pole ; but he knew well, as 
did the Emperor, that Mary was too proud to marry a 
subject, and looked to her marriage as a means of 
strengthening her throne; and soon afterwards even 
Noailles saw that Courtenay had spoilt his chance- by 
dissoluteness of life, though he continued to make use 
of him as a tool for conspiracy against Mary and her 
Spanish friends. 

On the 3rd August the new Queen, dressed in violet 
velvet, and mounted on a milk-white pony, came to her 


city of London through the gaily decked portal of Aid- 
gate, and so to the Tower, where she released those 
who had lain there in prison to suit the policy of the men 
who had ruled Edward vi. Events moved apace. 
Gardiner from a prison was suddenly raised to the post 
of chief minister. Bonner, the hated Bishop of London, 
came from the Marshalsea to his throne in Saint Paul's ; 
and everywhere, though yet illegal, the mass was al- 
ready being introduced. The Emperor kept warning 
Mary to be moderate, and to walk warily ; whilst the 
churchmen, burning with zeal to come upon their own 
again, were obstinately shutting their eyes to all that 
had happened since bluff Henry's death. Renard it 
was who almost daily saw the Queen with these mess- 
ages of modern counsel from his master ; and the 
subject of marriage was mentioned more than once. 
Noailles and Gardiner were pushing as hard as they 
might the suit of Courtenay ; but on the 7th August 
Mary told Renard that she saw no fit match for her in 
her own country, and had decided to marry a foreigner. 
Then gently and tentatively the ambassador menr 
tioned the Emperor's only son Philip. She affected to 
laugh at the idea, forjthe Prince was only twenty-seven 
the same age as Courtenay, by the way and, as she 
said on another occasion, most of the bridegrooms they 
offered her might have been her sons. But Renard 
saw that his suggestion was not altogether an un- 
welcome one, and hastened to ask his master for 
further instructions. 'Do not overpress her,' wrote 
Granvelle, ' to divert her from any other match ; because 
if she have the whim she will carry it forward if she be 
like other women.' But Mary Tudor's birth and 
trials had made her not like other women ; and she 
listened to the tale of marriage, not because she hank- 


ered for a husband, but because she hungered for a son 
to present to her people. 

Noailles soon got wind of the plan to marry Mary 
to the Emperor's son, and wherever French gold or 
interest could reach the enemies of the new regime 
they were plied with hints of the terrible results that 
would come if Spain ruled England by Torquemada's 
methods. A gust of panic swept over London at the 
idea of an Inquisition ; for the Queen had come at first 
with promises of toleration, and already the zeal of the 
churchmen had darkened the horizon. On the eve of 
the Queen's coronation, on the ist October, a Spanish 
resident in London, whilst professing to despair of the 
probability of the match, writes words that show how 
well aware even private citizens were of the advantage 
that it would bring to Spain. ' And if the Lord vouch- 
safed us to behold this glorious day, what great advan- 
tage would befall our Spain, by holding the Frenchmen 
in check, by the union of these kingdoms with his 
Majesty. And if it were only to preserve Flanders his 
Majesty and his son must greatly desire it, ... for when 
the Lord shall call his Majesty away the Low Countries 
will be in peril of the Frenchmen attacking them, or of 
the Germans (i.e., Lutherans) invading them by their 
help, the succour from Spain being so remote, and the 
people (i.e., of Flanders) not being well affected to- 
wards our nation. It would also be most advantageous 
to Spain, because if aught should happen to the Prince's 
son (i.e., Don Carlos) the son born here would be King 
of both countries, and, in sooth, this would be advan- 
tageous to the English also.' l 

1 Antonio de Guaras to the Duke of Alburquerque. * Antonio de Guaras,' 
by Dr R. Garnett. For particulars of this personage, Antonio de Guaras, 
see 'Espanoles 6 Ingleses,' por Martin Hume. Madrid y Londres, 1903. 


We may be sure that Mary's coyly sympathetic at- 
titude was not lost on the Emperor. But Philip was a 
man of twenty-seven, a widower since his boyhood, 
witrTa mistress (Isabel de Osorio) whom he loved ; and 
FoFliTany~years past he had been his own master, and 
practically King of Spain, though nominally only Prince 
Regent. His marriage, moreover, to a Portuguese 
cousin with a rich dowry was in active final negotiation, 
and the Emperor could not be sure how the Prince 
would receive the suggestion of marriage with an un- 
attractive foreign woman more than ten years his senior, . 
and living in a far country. He need have had no 
distrust. Philip under his system had been brought up 
frornjhis birth to regard sacrifice to his mission as a 
supreme duty. He was a statesman and a patriot, and 
he saw as clearly as his father the increment of strength 
that the union with England would bring to the cause 
to which their lives were pledged ; and his reply, given, 
as Sandoval says, 'like a second Isaac ready to sacri- 
fice himself to his father's will and for the good^of the 
church,' was, * I have no other will than that of your 
Majesty, and whatever you desire, that will I do.' 

Promptly on the heels of the courier that bore the 
dutiful letter to the Emperor went two nobles of 
Philip's household, Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza 
and Don Diego de Geneda, to offer congratulations and 
greetings to the new Queen of England in his name. 
Geneda bore a secret message to her of a warmer 
character than mere greeting ; and before the sump- 
tuous coronation in Westminster Abbey on the ist 
October, Mary had practically made up her mind to 
marry her second cousin. She knew that England, 
under Noailles' artful incitement, was in a ferment of 
alarm at the idea ; but she was a Tudor ; she had some 


long scores to settle, she needed strength to do it, 
and opposition only made her firmer. Parliament met 
on the 5th October, and, under pressure from Mary, 
made a clean sweep of all the anti- Papal laws that had 
severed England from Rome ; but when, influenced by 
Gardiner and prompted by Noailles, the House of 
Commons voted an address to the Queen praying her 
not to marry a foreigner, Mary sent for the members 
to wait upon her. The Speaker and a deputation of 
twenty parliament men stood trembling before her and 
presented their humble address, whilst the angry 
Queen muttered that she would be a match for Chan- 
cellor Gardiner's cunning. Her reply to the Speaker 
was haughty and minatory : c Your desire to dictate to 
us the Consort whom we shall choose we consider 
somewhat superfluous. The English parliament has 
not been wont to use such language to its sovereigns, 
and when private persons on such matters suit their 
own tastes, sovereigns may reasonably be allowed to 
choose whom they prefer.' I This was the true Tudor 
way of dealing with the Commons, and Mary having 
obtained the religious legislation she needed to legalise 
her own position on the throne, promptly dissolved the 
parliament she had flouted. 

It was only after much prayerful heart-searching that 
Mary had so far made up her mind to prefer the Prince 
of Spain. At first she had tried to make it a condition 
that the Emperor should not ask her to marry any 
candidate before she had seen him ; but this in Philip's 
case was impossible. He was too great a catch to be 
trotted out for inspection and approval, and when this 
was gently put to her by Renard, she tearfully im- 
plored the ambassador, whose hands she seized and 

1 Correspondance de Cardinal de Granvelle. 


held between her own, not to deceive her with regard 
to the Prince's character. Was he really well con- 
ducted and discreet, as he had been described to her ? 
The ambassador emphatically protested on his honour 
that he was ; but still the Queen, almost doubting still, 
wished that she might see him before she gave her 
word. A good portrait by Titian was sent to her, 
representing the Prince rather younger than he was, a 
good-looking young man with the fair Austrian skin 
and yellow hair, the slight curly beard hardly masking 
the heavy jaw and underlip he inherited from his 
father. Tjie. portrait appears to have banished the 
last doubts in Mary's mind. She had never had a 
love affair before, often as she had been betrothed : 
even now her idea had been to marry because her 
position entailed it. But the contemplation of the face 
of him who was to be her husband, and Renard's 
reiteration of his good qualities, gradually worked in 
her mind an intense yearning for the affection for 
which she had hungered in vain during her persecuted 

On Sunday evening, the 3ist October, she summoned 
Renard to a room containing an altar upon which the 
monstrance with the Host was placed. The Queen 
was alone, except for her devoted nurse Mrs Clarencius, 
when the ambassador entered ; and with much emotion 
she told him that since he had presented the Emperor's 
letter asking her hand for Philip, she had been sleep- 
less, passing her time in weeping and prayers for 
guidance as to her choice of a husband. 'JThe Holy 
Sacrament is my resource, in., all my difficulties^, she 
"Said, ' and as it is standing upon the altar in this room, 
I will appeal to it for counsel now ; ' and, kneeling, as 
did Renard and Clarencius, she recited Veni Creator 


Spiritus almost below her breath. After a short silent 
prayer she rose, calm and self-possessed, and told the 
ambassador that she had chosen him for her father 
confessor with the Emperor. She had considered 
carefully all that had been told her about Philip, and 
had consulted Arundel, Paget, and Petre l on the sub- 
ject ; and, bearing in mind the good qualities and dis- 
position of the Prince, she prayed the Emperor to be 
indulgent with her, and agree to the conditions neces- 
sary for the welfare of her realm ; to continue to be a 
good father to her, since henceforward he would be 
doubly her father, and to urge Philip to be a good 
husband. Then solemnly upon the altar, before the 
Sacred Presence, she promised Renard that she would 
marry Philip, Prince of Spain, making him a good and 
faithful wife, loving him devotedly without change. 2 
She had wavered long in doubt, she said, but God had 
illumined her, and her mind was now made up : she 
would marry Philip and no one else. 

Renard was overjoyed at the news, which he sent 
flying to the Emperor, but kept inviolably secret from 
all others. But though no one knew, every one sus- 
pected ; and the muttering of coming trouble sounded 
on all sides. Lady Jane Grey, Northumberland's three 
sons, Cranmer, Ridley, and others, were tried and 
condemned to death. Risings here and there in the 
country burst out sporadically, for disaffection was 
everywhere ; Noailles' confabulations with Elizabeth 
and Courtnay were discovered and denounced ; Pole 
was stopped by the Emperor on his way to England ; 
and Gardiner, kept in the dark as to the Queen's irre- 

1 These were all councillors in the interest and pay of the Emperor, and 
were pledged in any case to favour the match. 

2 Record Office. Record Commission Transcripts, Brussels, vol. i. 


vocable promise, still battled against the project of a 
Spanish match. But the secret had to be let out at 
last, and the Spanish adherents in Mary's council were 
obliged to consult Gardiner as to the marriage treaty. 
They drove a hard bargain, notwithstanding all the 
bribes and blandishments, for they were determined 
that the marriage should not mean the political subjuga- 
tion of England by Spain ; and the King Consort's 
power was so fenced around by safeguards and limita- 
tions that when Philip finally heard the conditions, he 
was well nigh in despair, for he knew that if they were 
fulfilled to the letter the marriage would be useless to 
Spanish interests, and that his sacrifice would be in 
vain. But of this the populace knew nothing. What 
they did know was, that a Spaniard was coming to be 
their King, and London at least shuddered at the 
plenteous hints that Noailles had spread, that the In- 
quisition and the auto de fe were coming too. 

So when, on the ist January 1554, a troop of 
foreign servants and harbingers rode through the 
city of London to prepare the lodgings of the brilliant 
imperial embassy that was to arrive next day, even 
the 'prentices gathered as they passed and greeted 
them with curses and volleys of snowballs. 1 The 
brilliant Count of Egmont and his train landed duly 
at the Tower wharf on the morrow, to ask formally 
for the hand of the Queen for the Emperor's son. 
1 They were met by Sir Anthony Browne, he being 
clothed in a very gorgeouse apparell. At the Tower 
Hill the earle of Devonshire (i.e., Courtenay), with 
the lorde Garrett and dyvers others, receyved him 
in most honorable and famylier wyse ; and so the 
lorde of Devonshire, gevyng him the right hand, 

1 Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary. Camden Society. 


brought him thoroughte Chepsyde, and so fourthe 
to Dyrram Place (i.e., Durham House in the Strand), 
the people nothing rejoysing, helde downe their heddes 
sorowfully.' 1 The formalities were soon got through 
with a few solemn banquets and courtly ceremonies, 
and on the I3th January Gardiner, with as good a 
face as he could put upon the matter, made an oration 
in the Chamber of Presence at Westminster to the 
lords and officials, declaring the Queen's purpose to 
marry Philip of Spain : ' in most godly lawfull 
matrimonye : and further, that she should have for 
her joynter xxx. mil ducketes by the yere, with all 
the Lowe Country of Flanders ; and that the issue 
betweene them two lawfully begotten shoulde, yf 
there were any, be heir as well to the Kingdome of 
Spayne, as also to the sayde Lowe Country. He 
declared further that we were much bounden to 
thanck God that so noble, worthye, and famouse a 
prince, would vouchsaff so to humble himself in this 
maryadge to take upon him rather as a subject than 
otherwise : and that the Quene should rule all thinges 
as nowe : and that there should be of the Counsell 
no Spanyard, nether should have the custody of any 
fortes or castells, nether have rule or offyce in the 
quene's house or elsewhere in all England.' 2 Gardiner 
made the best of it, but the bare fact was enough to 
send the friends of the late regime, and not a few 
of those who had profited by the plunder of the 

1 Chronicle of Queen Jane and Queen Mary. Camden Society. 

2 On the 2ist January 1554 the Emperor wrote to Philip sending him 
the treaty for ratification, and asked him to send powers for the formal 
betrothal, since the English insist that when, by the blessing of God, the 
marriage takes place you shall take an oath to respect the laws and 
privileges of England : ' but the Queen confidently assures us that secretly 
everything shall be done to our liking^ and we believe this? MSS. 
Simancas. Estado, 808. 


church, into a delirium of fear. Carews, Wyatts, 
and Greys protested, rebelled and collapsed, for 
England, in the main, was loyal to Mary, and the 
vast majority of the people, except in and about 
London, bitterly resented the iconoclastic changes of 
Edward's reign. The Queen knew her own mind 
too, and in the face of danger was as firm as a 
rock, for in her sight the Spanish marriage meant 
the resurrection of her country and the salvation of 
ieT~peopIE Charles and his son doubtless thought 
so~Too^hr a general way, but tHat was not their first 
Wliat they wanted was to humble France 
means of their command of English 

resources, and^to make Spain the dictatress of the world. 
>n the very day that poor Wyatt's ' draggletayles,' 
all mud-stained and weary with their march from 
Kingston Bridge, were toiling up Fleet Street to 
final failure and the gallows, a dusty courier rode 
into Valladolid with the news for Philip, that the 
offer of his hand had been accepted by the Queen 
of England. The prince was at Aranjuez, a hundred 
miles away, planning his favourite gardens, when the 
news reached him, with the premature addition that 
the Earl of Bedford was already on the way to Spain 
with the marriage contract. Philip stopped his pastime 
at once and started the same day for Valladolid with 
his bodyguard of horsemen in the scarlet and gold 
of Aragon. In haste the old city put itself into 
holiday garb, and organised tourneys, cane-tiltings 
and fireworks, to celebrate the agreement which was 
to make the beloved Prince of Spain King of England. 
The looms and broidery-frames of all the realms were 
soon busy making the gorgeous garb and glittering 
trappings to fit out the nobles and hidalgos who were 


to follow their prince to England, each, with Spanish 
ostentation, bent upon outstripping his fellows in 
splendour. Alba, Medina Celi, Aguilar, Pescara, 
Feria, Mendoza and Enriquez, and a hundred other 
haughty magnates, were bidden to make ready with 
their armies of retainers all in fine new clothes, in 
spite of Renard's warning that : ' Seulement sera reqms 
que lesEspaignolez quisuyuront vostre Alteze comportent 
les fafons de faire des Angloys, et soient modestes! 

Phi]i^s__steward, Padjllj was sent hurrying to the 
coast to receive the Earl of Bedford, who did not 
start from England for another month ; and the 
Marquis de las Novas, loaded with splendid presents 
from Philip to his bride, set out for England. Mary 
was conspicuously fond of fine garments and jewels, 
and Philip in his youth, and on state occasions, wore 
the richest of apparel ; but even they must have been 
sated at the piled-up sumptuousness for which their 
wedding was an excuse. Philip's offering to Mary, 
sent by Las Novas, consisted of 'a great table 
diamond, mounted as a rose in a superb gold setting, 
valued at 50,000 ducats ; a collar or necklace of 
eighteen large brilliants, exquisitely mounted and set 
with dainty grace, valued at 32,000 ducats ; a great 
diamond and a large pearl pendant from it (this was 
Mary's favourite jewel, and may be seen in the 
accompanying portrait), the most beautiful gems, says 
a contemporary eyewitness, ever seen in the world, 
and worth 25,000 ducats; and then follows a list 
of pearls, diamonds, emeralds and rubies, without 
number, sent to Mary and her ladies by the gallant 
bridegroom. 1 

1 ' The Coming of Philip the Prudent ' in ' The Year after the Armada,' 
by Martin Hume. 


Whilst all these fine preparations were going on 
in Spain, the Emperor more than once questioned 
the wisdom or safetjLjrf allowing his son to risk 
himself amongst 3^ people so incensed against the 
match as the English, and in partial rebellion against 
ijj arid Renard held many anxious conferences with 
Mary and her council on the subject. The Queen 
declared again and again that she would answer for 
Philip's safety ; and she put aside, as gently as she 
could, Renard's incessant promptings of greater 
severity upon Elizabeth, Courtenay and the rest of 
the suspects and rebels. Once, at the end of March, 
Renard told her that if she was so lenient to rebels, 
he doubted whether Prince Philip could be trusted 
in her realm, * as he could not come armed ; and if 
anything befell him it would be a most disastrous 
and lamentable scandal. Not only would the person 
of his Highness suffer, but also the lords and 
gentlemen who accompanied him : and I could not 
help doubting whether she had taken all the necessary 
steps to ensure safety/ To this she answered, with 
tears in her eyes, ' that she had rather never been 
born than that any outrage should happen to the 
Prince ; and she fervently hoped to God that no 
such thing would occur. All the members of her 
Council would do their duty in their reception of the 
Prince, and were going to great expense about it. 
Her Council shall be reduced to six members, as 
Paget and Petre had advised ; and she would do 
her best to dispose the goodwill of her subjects who 
wish for the Prince's coming.' 1 

Mary was overwhelmed with anxiety. ' She had 

1 Renard to the Emperor, 27th March 1554. Record Commission 
Transcripts, also printed by Tytler. 



neither rest nor sleep,' she said, ' for thinking of the 
means of security for Philip in England.' But she 
would not sacrifice Elizabeth for all the clamouring of 
Renard, and even of Gardiner. She knew that the 
French were almost openly subsidising rebellion 
against her ; and that her people grew more appre- 
hensive daily that her marriage with Philip would 
mean a war with France for Spanish objects, but she 
hadlibw set her mind upon the marriage, and nothing 
in the world would shake her. Philip, though he was 
not personally brave, was equally firm about coming, 
even at risk of his life ; jor^Jiis was a spirit of sacrifice 
and his marriage was a sacred duty. From duty Philip 
never shrank, whatever the suffering it entailed. 

On the I4th May 1554 Philip rode out of Valladolid 
with nearly a thousand horsemen in gaudy raiment. 
First going south west to near the Portuguese frontier 
to meet his sister Joan, who had just lost her husband, 
the Prince of Portgual, he turned aside to take a last 
farewell to his grandmother, Joan the Mad, in her 
prison-palace at Tordesillas, and then passed on from 
town to town, through Leon and Galicia ; his puny, 
hydrocephalic heir, Don Carlos, by his side, towards 
Santiago and Corunna. Loving greeting and good 
wishes followed him everywhere ; for was he not 
going to fix upon yet another land, and that a rich 
one, the seal that marked it as within the circle of the 
Spanish realms? Proud were these hidalgos who 
rode behind him, proud the Spaniards, high and low, 
who welcomed him and sped him on his way, proud 
the very lackeys in the smallest squireling's train ; for 
they were all Spaniards, and they felt that this was a 
Spanish victory. 

On the vigil of St. John, 23rd June, Philip was 


received at the gates of Santiago by kneeling citizens 
with golden keys as usual ; and as he and his train, 
all flashing in the southern sun, pranced through the 
streets of the apostolic capital, two English lords, Bed- 
ford and Fitzwalter, sat at a window with their mantles 
before their faces, watching the progress of their future 
King. The next morning the English special envoys 
were publicly led into Philip's presence. He met them 
at the door of the chamber leading into the great hall, 
and as the Englishmen bent the knee and doffed their 
bonnets the Prince uncovered and bowed low. Bed- 
ford, ' a grandee and a good Christian,' we are told by 
an eyewitness, then handed the marriage contract to 
him, and kissed hand, as did his colleagues. On 
leaving the room one Englishman said to another, 
apparently delighted at Philip's demeanour, ' O ! God 
be praised for sending us so good a King as this ' ; 
and the Spaniard who heard the remark and under- 
stood English was only too glad of an opportunity of 
repeating it to his gratified compatriots. The envoys 
had good reason to be pleased with Philip, for though 
he was usually a bad paymaster to those who served 
him, he could be very liberal when it suited him ; and 
on the day after the state interview a splendid piece of 
gold plate, magnificently worked, and standing nearly 
five feet high, was presented to Bedford, all the rest of 
the Englishmen being dealt with_jn similar generous 

In the harbour a fine fleet of vessels rode at anchor 
with several English royal vessels ; and Bedford prayed 
that Philip would make the voyage in one of the 
latter. This, however, was not considered prudent or 
dignified ; but the English envoys were given the 
privilege of choosing amongst the Spanish vessels 


that which should carry the King. It was a fine ship 
they selected, belonging to Martin de Bertondona, one 
of the first sailors in Spain ; and when Philip went to 
inspect it the next day it must have presented a 
splendid sight, with its towering gilded poop and 
forecastle, its thousand fluttering pennons ; and over 
all the proud royal standard of crimson damask thirty 
yards long. 1 At length, after much ceremonious 
junketing, the heralds announced that the King would 
embark the next day, I2th July. There were over a 
hundred sail, fully armed and carrying a body of over 
six thousand men to reinforce the Emperor, besides 
six thousand sailors ; and when the King stepped upon 
his beautiful twenty-four-oared galley, all decked with 
silk and cloth of gold, with minstrels and rowers clad 
in damask doublets and plumed bonnets to go on board 
the ship that was to bear him to England, the ' Espiritu 
Santo,' the great crowd on shore cried aloud to God 
and Santiago to send the royal traveller a safe and 
happy voyage, and confusion to the French. On the 
fifth day out a Flemish fleet of eighteen sail hove in 
sight off the Land's End, and convoyed the Prince past 
the Needles with some ships of the English navy ; 
and on Thursday, iQth July 1554, the combined fleets 
anchored in Southampton Water amidst the thunderous 
salutes of the English and Flemish ships at anchor 
there to greet them. 

The English and Flemish sailors had not got on 
well together during the stay of the Flemish fleet at 
Southampton. The officers suspected the Lord 
Admiral of England (Lord William Howard) of in- 

1 Full details of Philip's voyage and arrival in England will be found in 
' The Coming of Philip the Prudent ' in ' The Year after the Armada,' by 
Martin Hume. 


triguing with the French to capture Philip on his way ; 
and reported that he made little account of the Flemish 
Admiral, de la Chapelle, and called his ships mussel 
shells. When some of the Flemings had landed the 
English soldiers had hustled and insulted them in the 
streets ; and by the time Philip arrived in Southampton 
water the two naval forces were not on speaking terms. l 
On shore things were no better. The nobility of 
England, usually so lavish, except those around the 
Queen, were for the most part sulking as much as they 
dared. They were too poor, they declared, to make 
great and costly preparations to receive the King, and 
even a majority of the Queen's Council were suspected 
of plotting in favour of Elizabeth ; whilst Noailles was 
tireless in his efforts to spread alarm and disaffection. 

Bedford had reported that Philip was a bad sailor, 
but fortunately the voyage had been a calm one, and 
he remained at anchor for twenty hours before he 
landed for the first time in England ; so that he was 
quite able to carry out the instructions of his father, 
and the recommendations of Renard, to conciliate^ the 
English in every possible way. During his visit years 
before to Germany and Flanders he had offended the 
subjects there by his cold precision of manner and his 
Spanish abstemiousness ; but from the first hour of 
his stay in England, his whole behaviour underwent 
a change, for at the call of duty he was even willing 
to sacrifice all his usual tastes and habits. A crowd of 
English nobles and courtiers who were to be Philip's 
household came off at once to salute him on board the 
1 Espiritu Santo ' ; and when the next day he stepped 
into the magnificent royal barge that was to bear him 

1 Renard to the Emperor, gih June 1554, Brussels Transcripts, Record 


to land, the Earl of Arundel invested him with the 
badge of the Garter in the name of the Queen. With 
him, besides the English lords, there went in the barge 
a stately crowd of Spanish grandees, Alba, Feria, Ruy 
Gomez, his only friend, Olivares, with Egmont, Horn, 
and Bergues ; but no soldier or man-at-arms was 
allowed on shore on pain of death. Philip had learnt 
from Renard the agony of distrust felt in England of 
Spanish arms, and at the same time came the even less 
welcome news that the Emperor had suffered a defeat 
in Flanders, and needed urgently every soldier that 
could be sent to him. So the Spanish fleet was not 
even allowed to enter the port of Southampton, but 
after some delay and much grumbling on the part of 
the Spaniards at what they considered churlish treat- 
ment, was sent to Portsmouth to revictual for their 
voyage to Flanders. 

As Philip stepped ashore, Sir Anthony Browne in a 
Latin speech announced that the Queen had appointed 
him her consort's master of the horse, and had sent him 
the beautiful white charger, housed in crimson velvet 
and gold, that was champing its bit hard by. The 
King would have preferred to walk the short distance 
to the house prepared for him ; but Browne and the 
lords in waiting told him that this was not usual, and 
the former ' took him up in his arms and placed him in 
the saddle, then kissing the stirrup, marched bare- 
headed by the side of his new master to the Church of 
Holy Rood.' The King must have looked a gracious 
figure as he passed through the curious crowd smiling 
and bowing, dapper and erect on his steed, with his 
short yellow beard and close-cropped yellow head ; 
dressed as he was in black velvet and silver, with 
massive gold chains and glittering gems on his breast, 


around his velvet bonnet, and at his neck and wrists ; 
and every one around him, so far as fine clothes went, 
was a fit pendant to him. All the English guards, 
archers, and porters wore the red and yellow of Aragon ; 
and the nobles in attendance, both English and Spanish, 
were splendid in the extreme ; but beneath the silk and 
jewels beat hearts full of hate. The Spanish servants. 
400 of them, who landed, were not allowed by the jealous 
English to act for their master in any way ; and at 
Philip's public dinner the day before he left Southamp- 
ton, Alba forcibly asserted his right to hand the 
napkin to his master ; whilst all the lowlier courtiers 
stood by, idly scoffing and sneering at the clumsy ser- 
vice of their English supplanters. 

E)unngjlieJbwf^^ stay at Southamp- 

ton^whilst his belongings were being landed, splendid 
presents and loving messages passed almost hourly to 
and fro between Mary and her betrothed. "Hundreds 
of gaily clad servitors, with finely houselled horses, 
diamond rings and gold chains galore, came from the 
Queen at Winchester, though a continuous pelting rain 
was falling; and on Monday, 23rd July, the great 
cavalcade set out from Southampton 3000 strong. To 
the disgust of the Spaniards the King was surrounded 
by Englishmen alone ; and on the way 600 more 
English gentlemen in black velvet and gold chains 
met him, sent by the Queen as an additional body- 
guard ; followed a few miles further on by another 
embassy from her of six pages clad in crimson brocade 
and gold sashes, with six more beautiful horses. 1 The 
rain never ceased, and soon Philip's felt cloak failed to 

1 ' The Coming of Philip the Prudent,' in ' The Year After the Armada,' 
by Martin Hume. Philip himself brought 600 Andalusian jennets to 
improve the English breed of horses. 


keep dry his black velvet surcoat and his trunks and 
doublet of white satin embroidered with gold. So wet 
was he, indeed, that he had to stay at St. Cross to don 
another suit just as splendid, consisting of a black 
velvet surcoat covered with gold bugles, and white 
velvet doublet and trunks. And so clad he and his 
train rode to the stately cathedral of Winchester to 
hear mass ; and then to the Dean's house close by, 
where he was to lodge. 

That night at ten o'clock, after he had supped, the 
Earl of Arundel came and told him that the Queen 
awaited him at the Bishop's palace on the other side of 
the Cathedral. Once more he donned a change of 
garments : this time of white kid covered with gold 
embroidery ; and with a little crowd of English and 
Spanish nobles, he crossed the narrow lane between 
the two gardens, and entered that of the Bishop by a 
door in the wall. 1 A private staircase gave access to 
the Queen's apartment, and there Philip saw his bride 
for the first time. The apartment was a long narrow 
gallery, where Gardiner and several other elderly 
councillors were assembled ; and as Philip entered the 
Queen was pacing up and down impatiently. he was, 
as usual, magnificently dressed, with many jewels^over 
her black velvet gown/' cut higVjjvjth a petticoat of 
frosted silver. W hen her eyes lighted on him who was 
to be her husband, she came rapidly forward, kissing 
her hand before taking his, whilst he gallantly kissed 
her upon the mouth, in English fashion. 

In her case, at all events, it was^love at first sight. 
The poor woman, starved and hungry for love all her 
life, betrayed and illtreated by those who should have 

1 Though the palace is a crumbling ruin, the door in the garden wall 


shielded her, with a soul driven back upon itself, at last 
had found in this fair, trim built, young man, ten years 
her junior, a being whom she could love without 
reproach and without distrust. He^ confronted the 
match in a pure spirit ^Lsacrifice ; for to him it meant 
the~~victory of the cause for which he and his great 
father lived. It meant, sooner or later, the crushing of 
France, the extirpationTof heresy, and "the rlegerhony of 
Spain over Europe ; and though Mary was no beauty, 
PnTTFfTwas a chivalrous gentleman, and, having decided 
to offer himself as a sacrifice for the cause, he did so 
with a good grace. Sitting under the canopy side by 
side, the lovers chatted amicably ; he speaking in 
Spanish and she in French, though she made some 
coquettish attempts to teach him English words. 

The next day brought fresh changes of gorgeous 
raiment, this time of purple velvet and gold, and the 
public reception of Philip by his bride in the great hall. 
There, under the canopy of state, the betrothed pledged 
each other in a cup of wine, whilst the Spanish courtiers 
sneered at everything English, and the Englishmen 
frowned at the Spaniards. On the day of St. James, 
the patron saint of Spain (25th July), the ancient 
cathedral was aglow with brilliant colour. All the 
pomp that expenditure could command, or fancy devise, 
was there to honour a wedding which apparently was 
to decide the fate of the world for centuries. The 
Queen, we are told, blazed with jewels to an extent 
that dazzled those who gazed upon her, as she swept 
up to her seat before the altar, with her long train of 
cloth of gold over her black velvet gown sparkling 
with precious stones. Philip wore a similar mantle, 
covered with gems, over a dress of white satin almost 
hidden by chains and jewels. Upon a platform erected 


in the midst of the nave, Philip and Mary were made 
man and wife by Bishop Gardiner, who afterwards pro- 
claimed to the assembly that the Emperor had trans- 
ferred to his son the title of King of Naples. 

At the wedding banquet in the bishop's palace that 
afternoon Mary took precedence of her husband. She 
sat on the higher throne, and ate off gold plate, whilst 
Philip was served on silver ; and Spaniards scowled 
at the idea that their prince should be second to any. 
The solid sumptuousness and abundance of everything 
struck the Spaniards with amazement, both at the 
banquet and at the ball and supper which followed. 
But the richer the country the greater their disappoint- 
ment. Already they were grumbling that the sacrifice 
the King had made was vain. Philip^jfter^an, was 
not to be master in England, and must go to a council 
tojtsk permissjonto do anything with English resources. 
Nay, said the courtiers, so far from being master, it 
is he who has to dance as these Englishmen play : he 
must bend to their prejudices and caprices, not they 
to his, as was fitting for vassals. The English, on 
their side, were just as dour under the terrifying 
predictions of French agents ; and as the royal lovers 
travelled to Basing, and so to Windsor, Richmond 
and London, matters grew worse and worse. 

Philip, and Regard did their best to smooth ruffled 
susceptibilities. All acts of clemency were ostentatiously 
coupled with Philip's name, and the King surpassed 
himself in amiability and generosity. 1 Mary, in the 
meantime, was perfectly infatuated with her young 
husband, and he was kind and gentle to her, as he 

1 This, I am aware, is contrary to the statements of most English his- 
torians, and especially of Mr. Froude. The evidence in favour of my 
view of the King's attitude is stated in my essay called * The Coming of 
Philip the Prudent,' in ' The Year After the Armada ' and other historical 


was to each of his wives in turn. 'Their Majesties,' 
writes a Spanish courtier, ' are the happiest couple in 
the world, and are more in love with each other than 
I can say. He never leaves her, and on the road is 
always by her side, lifting her into the saddle and 
helping her to dismount. He dines with her, publicly 
sometimes, and they go to mass together on feast 
days.' Then the same writer continues : ' These 
English are the most ungrateful people in the world, 
and hate Spaniards worse than the devil. They rob 
us, even in the middle of the city, and not a soul of 
us dares to venture two miles away for fear of 
molestation. There is no justice for us at all. We 
are ordered by the King to avoid disputes and put 
up with everything whilst we are here, and to endure 
all their attacks in silence. . . . We are told that we 
must bear everything for his Majesty's sake.' 1 

Spanish nobler were openly insulted in jhe streets 
of London, and Spanish priests stoned in the churches: 
but this was not the worst. What galled most was 
the growing conviction that all -tSs- humiliatioji was 
in vain. Instead of a submissive people ready to bow 
Ifae neck to the new King and his countrymen, the 
Spaniards found a country where the sovereign's 
pgwgt^_\^s__sj:iictiy~drcumscribed, and where a 
foreigner's only hope of domination was by force of 
arms. ' This marriage will, indeed, have been a 
failure if the Queen have no children,' wrote one of 
Philip's chamberlains. ' They told us in Castile that 
if his Highness became King of England we should 
be masters of France . . . but instead of that the 

essays. Mr. Froude and his predecessors depended too implicitly upon 
the entirely untrustworthy and biassed accounts sent by Noailles to 
France, and the similarly inimical Venetian agent's version. 
1 ' The Coming of Philip the Prudent.' 


French are stronger than ever, and are doing as 
they like in Flanders. Kings here have as little 
power as if they were subjects ; the people who 
really govern are the councillors, who are the King's 
masters. . . . They say openly that they will not let 
our King go until they and the Queen think fit, as 
this country is quite big enough to satisfy any one 

struggled on, gaining ascendancy 

over his wife and gradually influencing the councillors 
by gifts and graciousness. 1 The fifty gallows that 
had borne as many dead sympathisers of Wyatt were 
cleared from the streets, and the skulls of the higher 
offenders were banished from London Bridge, so that 
the triumphant entry of Philip and Mary into the 
capital should be marred by no evil reminders ; but 
though London was loyal to Mary, it hated Spaniards 
more jhan any c7t^Tm^rie~reaim ; and the crowd that 
hailed the Queen effusively when, on the i8th August, 
she and her husband went in state from Southwark 
through the city to Whitehall, listened and believed 
the wild and foolish rumours that a great army of 
Spaniards was coming to fetch away the crown of 
England ; that a Spanish friar was to be Archbishop 

1 Ruy Gomez wrote from Richmond, 24th August 1554, to Eraso. 'The 
King entertains the Queen excellently, and knows very well how to pass 
over what is not good in her for the sensibility of the flesh. He keeps 
her so contented that truly the other day, when they were alone together, 
she almost made love to him, and he answered in the same fashion. As 
for these gentlemen (i.e., the English councillors), his behaviour towards 
them is such that they themselves confess that they have never yet had 
a King in England who so soon won the hearts of all men.' MSS. 
Simancas Estado, 808. In November 1554 Gonzalo Perez wrote to 
Vasquez : 'The English are now so civil you would hardly believe it. 
The kindness and gifts they have received, and are receiving every day, 
from the King would soften the very stones. The Queen is a saint, and I 
feel sure that God will help us for her sake.' MSS. Simancas Estado, 808. 


of Canterbury, that English treasure was being sent 
from the Tower to fill the Emperor's coffers, and 
much else of the same sort that French agents set 
afloat ; so, withal, there were few who smiled upon 
the Queen's consort, let him smile as he might upon 
them. Fair pageants decked the street corners, and 
far-fetched compliments were recited to the King and 
Queen by children dressed as angels, for the corpora- 
tion of London had been warned that there must 
be no lack of official signs of welcome ; but to prove 
how sensitive and apprehensive both the court and 
the people were, the story is told of how the Conduit 
in Gracechurch Street was decked with painted figures 
of kings, one of whom, Henry VIIL, was represented 
with a bible labelled * Verbum Dei ' in his hand ; 
whereupon Gardiner, in a towering rage, thinking 
this quite innocent representation was intended as an 
insult to the Catholic idea of the Bible, sent for 
the painter and threatened him with all sorts of 

Philip's patience, however, was_gra_duallj^_break i ng 
down _the__djstrust_ entertained in him. It was seen 
that wherever his influence was exerted it was on the 
side of moderation ; though of course it was not under- 
stood that this and all his sweetness was only part of 
the deep plan of the Emperor to obtain for his son full 
control of English policy. May^s position at the time 
was a most difficult one. She was deeply in love with 
^ heFTiusband ; and she~ desired fervently^tHe^aggran- 
disement of jSpain, which would mean the iriumph^of 
Catholicism over heresy and security for her throne ; 
buFsHe was an English Queen, determined if she could 
to_rule for the good of her people, and to bring about 
peace with France before she was drawn into the war. 


When Noailles saw Mary to give his tardy and in- 
sincere congratulations on the marriage that he had 
tried so hard to thwart, she assured him that her 
friendship with France was unchanged, and Philip 
immediately afterwards added his assurance that he 
would maintain intact all the alliances contracted by 
England, whilst they were for England's good. 1 

After Pole had been made to understand that the 
full restitution of church property in England must not 
be pressed, or revolution would result, he was allowed 
to come to England as legate, and the country formally 
returned to the pale of the church in November 1554. 
On the very day that Pole arrived it was officially 
announced that the Queen was pregnant ; and all 
England, and still more all Spaniards, greeted the 
great news as a special favour vouchsafed by heaven. 
To Philip and his father it meant very much ; for if a 
son was__born the hold of Spain over England would 
be^cbmplete for generations, at least long enough for 

of the faith to be effected. 

Its significance, even in anticipation, was made use of 
by Philip at once, and during the jubilation to which 
it gave rise, he caused his spokesman in parliament to 
propose the sending of an armed English contingent 
to aid the Emperor in the war against France, and the 
appointment of himself as Regent of England in case 
the expected child outlived his mother. The zeal of 
Bonner and Gardiner, however, spoilt it all. They 
hai_already begun their fell work of religious persecu- 
tion ; and the reaction" that naturally resulted against 
Spain compelled the Queen to dissolve parliament in 
a hurry before Philip's turn was served. 

Not only was Philip personally opposed to the per- 

1 Ambassades de Noailles, vol. iii. Leyden, 1763. 


secution in England, which he saw would injure his 
object, but he caused his chaplains openly to denounce 
from the pulpit the policy pursued by the English 
bishops. Renard ceaselessly deplored in his letters to 
the Emperor this over zeal of the English churchman, 
whose one idea of course was to serve, as they thought, 
their church, and not Spanish political ends. For six 
months Philip stood in the breach and dammed the 
tide of persecution : but his father was growing im- 
patient for his presence in Flanders. The deadly 
torpor was creeping over him, though he was not yet 
old, as it had crept over others of his house ; and he 
had begged for months that his son should come and 
relieve him of his burden. Philip had waited week 
after week in the ever deluded hope that Mary's 
promise of issue would be fulfilled ; but, at last, even 
the unhappy Queen herself had become incredulous, 
and her husband could delay his departure no longer. 
By August 1555 the rogations and intercessions to the 
Almighty for the safe birth of a prince were ordered to 
be discontinued, and the splendid plot of the Emperor 
and Philip to bring England and its resources per- 
manently to their side against France and heresy, was 
admitted to be a failure. 

The conviction that she was to be childless was 
only gradually forced upon Maryj for she had prayed 
and yearned so much for motherhood that she could 
hardly believe that heaven would abandon her thus. 
In her mind a son born of her and Philip would have 
made England, as she said, Catholic and strong for 
ever ; and as the bitter truth of her barrenness came 
home to the Queen she sank deeper into gloomy 
despondency, increased by the knowledge that her 
beloved husband, polite and considerate though he 


was to her, was obliged to leave her, with the tacit 
understanding that their marriage had failed in its 
chief object. Mary passionately longed to bring about 
peace between her husband's country and France. 
SHe knew that the revolutionary movement in and 
about London was being actively fomented by French 
intrigue ; that the crowd of pamphlets and scurrilous 
publications attacking her and her faith were being- 
paid for with French money ; and that unless peace 
was soon made or the agitation stopped England would 
be drawn into the war and her throne would be in peril. 
But her efforts towards peace met with little real aid 
from the French, for any step that consolidated her 
position and gave time for Spaniards and Englishmen 
to settle down under one system would have meant 
ruin to France ; and Mary's Council, and more reluct- 
antly Mary herself, was obliged to turn to the other 
alternative, and attempt to suppress the organised 
manifestations of rebellion against her rule. 

The burning of heretical and treasonable books, 
and even of the Edward vi. prayer book, was but a 
prelude to the burning of bodies, and Renard warned 
the Emperor that before Philip had been gone six 
months from England the holocaust would begin. It 
matters little whether the persecutions were religious 
or political the apologists of Mary and Elizabeth j^- 
spectively strive to prove that their victims in each 
case were political criminals ; and doubtless, according 
to the letter of the law, they were but it was clear to 
Philip and his father, that whatever excuse might^be 
advanced for the burning of Englishmen by Mary's 
Council, the executions would increase the ill-feeling 
agamst Spain, andlnake English resources less avail- 
ableloT them against France. But notwithstanding 


this Charles would wait no longer for his son, and 
peremptorily ordered him to return to Flanders. 

Philip accompanied his wife in state through London 
from Hampton Court to Greenwich I for the farewell ; 
and there urged her as he did her Council to be 
moderate in punishment. Mary herself was kindly 
and gentle ; but she was a Tudor Queen, and she 
lived in an age when the life of the individual was 
considered, as nothing to the safety of the State as 
constituted. Moreover, counsels of moderation coming 
from Philip of Spain, the patron of the Inquisition, 
could hardly have sounded very convincing ; though 
they were sincere in the circumstances, for Philip was a 
statesman before all things, a^ndj^ersecution in England 
at the_time_was contrary to his policy. In any case 
PEilip did his best to keep his hand on the break 
before saying goodbye to his wife. Mary was in the 
deepest affliction when she took leave of him on the 
2 Qth August 1555, though she struggled to retain her 
composure before the spectators of the scene. With 
one close embrace she bade him farewell, and sought 
solitude in a room of which the window commanded a 
view of the Thames. So long as the barge that bore 
him to Gravesend was in sight Mary's tear-dimmed 
eyes followed it yearningly ; whilst Philip, courteously 
punctilious, continued waving his hand and lifting his 
plumed cap to her until a turn in the river shut him 
from her sight. 

Renard was right. No sooner had Philip gone than 
the fires blazed out._ Hooper, Rogers, Saunders and 
Tayor, were burnt a fortnight afterwards ; then Ridley 

1 It had been announced and was generally believed that Mary was 
dead, and the citizens were overjoyed to see her in an open litter with 
Philip and Pole riding by her side. 



and Latimer some weeks later, to be followed in a 
few months by Cranmer and the host of others less 
distinguished. Gardiner, Mary's prime minister and 
only able councillor, died in November, just after the 
opening of parliament ; and then, with Pole, practically 
a foreign ecclesiastic, as her only guide, with a divided 
Council, and herself in utter despondency, ftlary_sank 
into impotence. Philip had ordered 

before he left that minutes ofliirthe Council meetings 
should be sent to him, but he soon found it difficult 
to_control, for his own ends, the action of ministers 
far away ; and when soon afterwards he began to 
press for English ships to fight the French at sea, 
he found the Queen's Council tardy and unwilling. 
The ships, they said, were not ready ; but as soon as 
possible some would be sent to guard the Channel. 
This did not suit Philip. The ships must be instantly 
fitted out and commissioned ; not at Dover, as the 
Council had promised, but at Portsmouth, to guard the 
Emperor's passage to Spain. This, of course, was the 
thin end of the wedge ; what he really needed and 
it was now the only benefit he could hope for from 
his marriage was that an English fleet should be at 
his disposal to attack France. The coolness of the 
English Council and the continued refusal to accede to 
Mary's request and give him the crown matrimonial 
of England, soon changed Philip's attitude, and the 
suavity that had so remarkably characterised him in 
England gave way to his usual dry hauteur towards 
Englishmen whom he met in Brussels. 

He had found his father in the last stage of mental 
and bodily depression. All had gone ill with him ; 
and the burden of his task, as far from fulfilment as 
ever, was greater than he could any longer bear. 


' Fortune,' he said, ' is a strumpet, and reserves her 
favours for the young ; ' and so to the young Philip he 
had determined to transmit his mighty mission of Chris- 
tian unification as a means of Spanish predominance. 
In October 1555, in perhaps the most dramatic scene 
in history, the Emperor solemnly handed to Philip the 
sovereignty of Flanders ; and on the i6th January 1556, 
the assembly of Spanish grandees, in the greaf hall of 
the palace of Brussels, witnessed the surrender of the 
historic crowns of Castile and Aragon by Charles v. 
tcrhis beloved only son. Heart-broken Mary Tudor 
from that day was Queen of Spain, as well as Queen of 
England. The title was a hollow one for her, though, 
fbrUer^mother's sake and her own, she loved the 
country which alone had succoured them in their trouble ; 
for Philip's accession made the return of her husband 
to her side more than ever remote. Philip had pro- 
mised faithfully to corne back, and in his letters to her 
he repeated his promise again and again. On one 
occasion when he was indisposed, Mary sent a special 
envoy with anxious inquiries after his health. There 
was nothing more the matter than the result of some 
little extra gaiety on Philip's part ; and he reassured 
his wife and announced his immediate visit to Eng- 
land. The English messenger, overjoyed at the good 
news, said to some of Philip's gentlemen, that, though 
he was delighted to be able to bear the glad tidings to 
the Queen, he would take care not to tell her that his 
Majesty had exposed himself twice to the dreadful 
weather then prevailing, and of his dancing at weddings, 
as the Queen was so easily upset and was so anxious 
about him that she might be too much afflicted. 1 

But still Philip came not ; and soon afterwards Mary 

1 Badoero to the Doge. Venetian State Papers. i$th December 1558. 


was thrown into despair by the order from Brussels^ 
tKat the King's household in England was to proceed 
to Spain. The English people followed the Spanish 
courtiers with reviling when they embarked, for the 
fear of being drawn into the war was stronger than ever ; 
but to the Queen their departure was a heavy blow, 
for it meant that hej|^sband would live in England no 
more. For a few jionths in the early part of 1556, the 
alliance of the jCpe and the King of France against 
the Emperor Jpd Philip was broken up by the settle- 
ment of a tmce between the latter and the French 
aTtime matters looked more hopeful for 

IVIary ; buy in the summer of 1556, the^war with 
France broke out again, and Philip found himself face 
toTace with apowerful coalition of the Papacy, France 
an3jHeZTiirE ft ^peajojLa_war over half of Europe, 
andnow if ever England might aid its Spanish King 
Consort. Phllip~wro1~~constantly urging the English 
Council to join him in the war against France ; but met 
only with evasions. Majyj^asbr^aking her heart in 
sorrow and disappointment, but was willing to do any : 
thing to please Philip. She had, moreover, her own 
gruT^eagam^f France ; for Noailles and his master 
had left no stone unturned to ruin her from the first 
day of her accession. But her Council, and above all, 
her subjects, had always dreaded this as a result of her 
Spanish marriage, and were almost unanimously opposed 
to the entrance of England into a strife which mainly 
concerned the supremacy of Spain over Italy. Mary, 
moreover, was in the deepest poverty, owing to her 
own firm resolve against alt advice to restore to the 
cKurch the forfeited tenths and first fruits ; and the 
forced loans collected from the gentry, it was untruly 
said at the instance of the Spaniards for the purposes 


of their war, had caused the deepest discontent in the 

It was clear that nothing more could be got from 
England for Spanish objects unless some special effort 
were made, and Philip was forced to undertake the 
journey himself to try the effect^^jpersonal pressure. 
Mary's joy at the news of his corm^p was pathetic in 
its intensity, though Pole warned n^r that, as had 
happened on other occasions, Philip rmwit not be able 
to come after all. The hope of seeingUier husband 
again seemed to give her new life, and sr^ hurried to 
London, visiting Pole at Lambeth on tbm way, and 
exerting herself to the utmost to win him ro her side. 
Thenceforward for weeks, whilst the King's voyage 
was pending, the English Council sat nearly night and 
day, and couriers incessantly hurried backwards and 
forwards to and from London, Brussels, and Paris. 1 
The French reinforced their troops around Calais and 
Guisnes, and all the signs pointed to the approach^of a 
war between England and France at the bidding of 

"The King landed at Dover on the i8th March 1557, 
and again all his haughty frigidity gave way to genial 
smiles for all that was English. 2 To the Queen's 
delight he spent two quiet days with her alone at 
Greenwich, and then rode through London to White- 
hall by her side as she sat in her litter. Their recep- 
tion by the citizens was polite, but cold ; for though 

1 Michaeli, the Venetian Envoy (' Calendar of Venetian State Papers ')> 
mentions one extraordinary journey of a courier at this time from Paris to 
London in twenty-five hours. 

2 It is related by the Flemish envoy Courteville that on his way through 
interbury he entered the Cathedral with his spurs on, against the rule ; 
id on being charged with this by a student, he paid the fine by emptying 

lis purse of gold in the student's cap. 


Philip personally was not unpopular, the idea of going 
to war with France for another nation's quarrel was 
distasteful in the extreme to Englishmen of all classes. 
What complicated the situation infinitely was that 
Philip was at war with the Pope that violent, head- 
strong enemy of his house and nation, Cardinal Caraffa, 
Paul iv. and Pole, as legate, could not even greet 
the King, much less acquiesce as a political minister in 
a war against the Papacy on the part of England. 
Mary, too, was torn between her devotion to the 
Church on the one hand and her love for her husband 
on the other. Her idea, and that of her Council, was 
to provide a subsidy and an English contingent to 
Philip, without entering into a national war ; and this 
much, under the existing treaty between Charles v. 
and Henry vm. in 1543, Philip had a right to claim if 
he was attacked by France. 

But the King wanted more from his wife's country 
than that which he could have claimed even if he had 
not married the Queen, and he ceaselessly urged upon 
Maryland upon her Council, heavily bribed to a man, 
the granting of much greater aid than that offered. 
He was at last successful in this, though it was still 
arranged that there was to be no declaration of war by 
Mary against France, the English forces being used 
only for the defence of Flanders and the territory of 
Calais. There were to be 8000 infantry and 1000 
horse, and an English fleet with 6000 fighting men 
was to be raised and maintained, half at the cost of 
England and half by Philip. 

When this had been arranged, France struck her 
counterblow, for it was clearly better for her to be at 
open war, in which she could adopt reprisals on the 
Scottish border, than to fight English contingents in 


Philip's service. The English Protestant exiles in 
France were made much of and subsidised ; and hare- 
brained Stafford and his crew of foolish young gallants 
sailed from Dieppe on Easter Sunday to seize the 
crown of England for himself. He captured Scar- 
borough, but himself was captured directly afterwards, 
and incontinently lost his head. It was a silly, hopeless 
business ; but the rebels had started from France, and 
had been helped by the French King, and the fact 
was argument enough. On the 6th June 1557, war 
was declared between England and France, and Philip,, 
at last, saw some return for his marriage in England. 
He hated war, and his methods were in all things 
different from those of a soldier ; but his best chance 
of securing a durable^peace was to show his strength 
whilst his hold over English -resources lasted, and it 
was clear from Mary's declining health that this would 
not be long. 

At the beginning of July, Philip rode for the last 
time from Gravesend through Canterbury to Dover, 
his ailing wife being carried in a litter by his side. On 
the 3rd July he bade her farewell as he stepped into 
the barge that carried him to the galleon awaiting him, 
and Mary, with death in her heart, turned her back to 
the sea, and went desolate to her home in London. 

The combined army in Flanders was commanded by 
the brilliant young soldier, Emanuel Philibert of Savoy, 
who had 50,000 men, whilst the French army, under 
Constable Montmorenci, reached barely Half that 
number. Savoy began the campaign by several rapid 
feints that deceived the French, and then suddenly in- 
vested St. Quintin, into which Coligny with 1,200 men 
just managed to enter before Savoy reached it. Find- 
ing himself in a trap, Coligny begged Montmorenci to 


come to his relief. The first attempt at this failed ; 
and on the the loth August the French main body 
made a desperate effort to enter the town by boats 
over the Somme. This was found impossible, and 
Montmorenci's force was surprised and taken in the 
rear by Savoy's superior strategy. The order to retire 
was given too late, and the French retreat soon became 
a panic-stricken rout. Six thousand Frenchmen were 
kitted, and as many more captured, with all the artillery 
and Montmorenci himself; and there was no force 
existent between Savoy's victorious army and the gates 
of Paris. Philip was at Cambrai during the battle ; 
and if he had been a soldier, like his cousin Savoy, or 
even like his father, he might have captured the capital, 
and have brought France to her knees. But he turned 
a deaf ear to Savoy's prayers, and lost his chance, as 
he did all his life, by over-deliberation. Te Deums 
were chanted, votive offerings promised, joy bells rung, 
but Philip's host moved no further onward. St. Quintin 
itself held out for a fortnight longer ; and murder, sack, 
and pillage, by the rascal mercenaries of Philip, held 
high saturnalia, in spite of his strict command, and to 
his horror when he witnessed the havoc wrought : and 
then, with the fatal over-deliberation that ruined him, 
he tamely quartered his men in the conquered terri- 
tory instead of pressing his victory home. 

The Germans, discontented with their loot, quarrelled 
and deserted by the thousand ; the English, sulky and 
unpaid, grumbled incessantly ; and the Spaniards 
asserted that they had shown no stomach for the fight 
before St. Quintin. Their hearts, indeed, were not in 
the war, for it concerned them not, and they demanded 
to be sent home. In London, the most was made of 
the victory of St. Quintin by the Queen's Government. 


Bonfires blazed in the streets, free drink rejoiced the 
lieges, and Pole, in the Queen's name, congratulated 
Philip upon so signal a mark of divine favour ; but the 
people wanted to gain no victories for foreigners, and 
obstinately refused to be glad. Philip, as usual, was 
pressed for money, and rather than keep the unruly 
English contingent through the winter, he acceded to 
their request to be allowed to go home. 

Whilst Philip's forces were melting away in idleness 
the fine French army under Guise, who were fighting 
the Spaniards outside Rome, were suddenly recalled 
by Henry u. to the Flemish frontier. The Pope was 
then obliged to make terms with Alba, and withdrew 
from the war, leaving the greater antagonists face to 
face. The English fortress of Calais had been 
neglected, and at the declaration of war Noailles, on 
his way back to France, had reported that it might 
be captured without difficulty. Guise and his army 
from Italy suddenly appeared before the fortress, and 
stormed and captured the Rysbank-fort on the sandy 
island forming Calais harbour. The news, when it 
came the next day (4th January 1558), to Mary, 
found her again in high hopes of a child ; and she 
received it bravely, setting about means to reinforce 
the town without the loss of a day. Lord Pembroke 
was ordered to raise a force of 5000 men and cross 
to Philip's town of Dunkirk. But before they were 
ready matters were desperate, for treachery was at 
work within and without the fortress of Calais. Lord 
Grey de Wilton at Guisnes was also in evil case ; 
* clean cut off,' as he says, ' from all aid and relief. 
I have looked for both out of England and Calais, 
and know not how to have help by any means, either 
of men or victuals. There resteth now none other 


way for the succour of Calais, and the rest of your 
Highness's places on this side, but a power of men 
out of England, or from the King's Majesty, or from 
both.' A first attempt to storm the citadel of Calais 
failed, but a few days later a great force of artillery 
was brought to bear. Wentworth, the governor, and 
Grey, the governor of Guisnes, sent beseeching 
messages to Philip for relief, but the time was short, 
and no sufficient force to attack Guise could be raised. 
Philip from the first had been impressing upon the 
English Council the need for strengthening Calais ; 
but, as we have seen, they were overburdened, without 
money, and without any able leader. Calais had been 
left to its fate, and on the 8th January 1558 the place 
cheerfully surrendered to the French. A few days 
afterwards Guisnes fell, and the last foothold of the 
English in France was gone for ever. 

When Guise had first approached Calais, Philip in- 
structed his favourite Count de Feria to hasten to 
England and insist upon reinforcements being sent. 
Before his departure Calais fell, and on arriving at 
Dunkirk to embark he learnt of the loss of Guisnes ; 
whereupon he delayed his departure for a day, in 
order not to be the bearer of the last bad news. 
Tl^e_tidmgs__oX_the^&iglish defeats had fallen like a 
thunderbolt upon Mary and her advisers ; but there 
was no repining yet, so far as the Queen was con- 
cerned, for God might yet, she hoped, send her a 
son, and then all would be well. She would, she 
said, have the head of any councillor of hers who 
dared to talk about making peace without the restitu- 
tion of the captured fortresses ; and church and laymen 
alike opened coffers wide to provide funds for avenging 
English honour and protecting English soil. 


Feria arrived in London on the 26th January, 
though the primary reason of his mission had dis- 
appeared when Calais fell. He saw Mary immediately, 
and found her stout of heart and hopeful, desirous of 
all things to please her husband, though doubtful 
about the goodwill of her Council. Two days after- 
wards Feria met the Council in Pole's room, and 
presented his master's demands. Mary had told the_ 
ambassador that both they, and the people at large, 
were murmuring that the war was of Philip's making, 
and she thought that it would be well boldly to face 
and refute that point before it was advanced by the 
councillors. The Council listened politely to the 
King's message, and recognising that they had before 
them the ideas not only of King Philip, but of their 
own Queen as well, took time to reply. A day or 
two afterwards the Council visited Feria, and Arch- 
bishop Heath, the chancellor, delivered their answer. 
It was couched in submissive language towards Philip, 
and told a sorry story. Far from being able to send 
any troops across the sea, they badly wanted troops 
for their own defence. The coast and the Isle ~of 
Wight were at the mercy of the French, and an 
invasion was threatened over the Scottish Border. 
But if King Philip would send them 3000 German 
mercenaries, for which they would pay, they would 
quarter them in Newcastle to protect the north 
country, and they would then arm a hundred ships 
in the Channel with a considerable force of men, 
some of whom might be used, at need, for Philip's 
service. Feria reported that the 5000 Englishmen 
he had seen at Dover, intended for embarkation, were 
disorderly rascals, useless as soldiers, and he and his 
master agreed that nothing could now be expected 


from England in the form of a military contingent 

Thecountry, says Feria, is in such a condition that 
if a hundred enemies were to land on the coast they 
could do as they liked. 1 Confusion was spreading 
throughout all classes in England, owing to the dislike 
of the war for the sake of Spain, and to the dis- 
quieting news of the Queen's health. Not a third 
of the usual congregation go to church since the fall 
of Calais, reported Feria ; and when, in a conversation 
with the Queen, the ambassador explained to her how 
the Spanish nobility were bound to contribute so many 
mounted men each, in case of war, Mary sadly shook 
her head at the idea of applying any such rule to 
England. * Not all the nobility of England together,' 
she said, ' would furnish her with a hundred horse.' 
Parliament was sitting, and at the demand of money 
tongues began to wag that it was to send across the 
sea to the Queen's Spanish husband, whose proud 
envoy could only sneer and scoff at the clumsy 
English way of raising funds for their sovereign, and 
tell everybody that he would be only too glad if he 
could prevail upon them to raise the necessary money 
for their own defence, for his master wanted none of 
it from them. 

Philip did not go so far as that, for he was very 
hard~~pressed indeed, and urged upon Mary some 
otrTer way of collecting funds besides the parliamentary 
vole. In vain Gresham tried to borrow ,10,000 in 
T^ntwerp on the Queen's credit ; attempts to cajole 
more money from the church and the nobles were 
made with but small result. The money from the 
parliamentary grant and other sources that could be 

1 Feria to the King. MSS., ' Simancas Estado,' 81 1. 


got together was sent to Flanders to pay for the 
raising of German levies for the English service ; 
and at once the murmurs in London grew to angry 
shouts, that English money was being sent out for 
King Philip. The fitting out of the English fleet, 
ostensibly for coast defence, was hurried forward, for 
the distracted English councillors were deluded into 
the idea that a great combined movement would be 
made to recover Calais : they were frightened by a 
false rumour that there was a strong French fleet at 
Dieppe, that the Hanse Towns and Denmark would 
descend on the east coast ; anything to get them to 
push forward a strong fleet, really, though not 
ostensibly, for Philip's purpose. But Philip took 
care when the fleet was ready that Clinton should 
use it as he desired ; l and the much-talked of 3000 
German mercenaries never came to England, but in 
due time were incorporated in Philip's army. It is 
curious to see how cleverly Feria and his master 
worked off the Queen against her councillors, and 
vice versa. With regard to these mercenaries, for 
instance, though the King was constantly sending 
letters and messages to his wife, he purposely 
refrained from mentioning his desire to make use of 
the Germans, for whom she had paid. ' I am writing 
nothing of this to the Queen,' he wrote; 'I would 
rather that you (Feria) should prudently work with 
the councillors to induce them to ask us to relieve 
them of these troops.' 2 

Mary's hopes of progeny were once more seen to be 
delusive ; and she, in deep despondency now, was 

1 This English fleet was mainly instrumental in gaining for the 
Flemings a great victory over the French under Termes in July 1558. 

2 MSS., ' Simancas Estado,' 811. 


seen to be rapidly failing. Pole also was a dying man, 
said Feria ; and all the other councillors, though con- 
stantly clamouring for Spanish bribes, were drifting 
away from the present regime. ' Those whom your 
Majesty has rewarded most are the men who serve 
the least: Pembroke, Arundel, Paget, Petre, Heath, 
the Bishop of Ely and the Controller.' Even Philip 
himself was ready now to turn to the rising sun, and 
away from his waning wife. ' What you write (he 
replied to Feria) about visiting Madam Elizabeth 
before you leave England, for the reasons you mention, 
seems very wise ; and I am writing to the Queen that 
I have ordered you to go and see the Princess, and I 
beg the Queen also to order you to do so.' I When 
Feria had frightened the Queen and Council out of 
all that was possible, he went to Hatfield to see 
Elizabeth, with all manner of kind messages and 
significant hints from Philip ; and sailed from England 
in July, leaving as his successor a Flemish lawyer 
named D'assonleville. 

Mary had lost all hope. She knew now, at last, 
that she would never be a mother : the persecutions 
for religion, and above all the war for the sake of 
Philip, had made her personally unpopular, as she 
never had been before ; she had not a single, honest 
capable statesman near her, Pole being now moribund, 
buFa set of greedy scamps who looked to their own 
interests alone ; and the doomed Queen saw that not 
for her was to be the glory of making England per- 
'manently Catholic, and ensuring uniformity of faith in 
Christendom. As the autumn went on the Queen's 
condition became more grave, and constant fever 
weakened her sadly. In the last week of October 

1 MSS., 'Simancas Estado,' 811. 


D'assonleville wrote to Philip that the Queen's life 
was despaired of, and Feria was instructed to make 
rapidly ready to cross, and stay in England during 
the period of transition that would supervene on her 
death. On the 7th November D'assonleville wrote 
again, urging that, as Parliament had been summoned 
to consider the question of the succession, it would be 
well that Philip himself should if possible be present. 
This was true ; but Philip had his hands full, and, 
even for so important an errand as this, he could not 
absent himself from Flanders ; for the peace commis- 
sioners from England, France, and Spain were in full 
negotiation, and peace to him now was a matter of 
vital importance. 

Feria arrived in London on the Qth November, and 
found Mary lying in her palace of Saint James's only 
intermittently conscious. She smiled sadly as the 
ambassador handed her Philip's letter, and greeted her 
in his name ; but she was too weak to read the lines 
he had written, though she indicated that a favourite 
ring of hers should be sent to him as a pledge of 
her love. Her faithful Clarentius and beloved Jane 
Dormer, already betrothed to Feria, whom she after- 
wards married, tended her day and night : but most of 
the others who had surrounded her in the day of her 
glory were wending their way to Hatfield, to court the 
fair-faced young woman with the thin lips and cold eyes 
who was waiting composedly for her coming crown. 
Feria himself took care to announce loudly his master's 
approval of Elizabeth's accession when her sister should 
die ; and did his best to second the Queen's efforts 
to obtain some assurance from the Princess that the 
Catholic faith and worship should be maintained in 
England. Elizabeth was cool and diplomatic. She 


knew well that she must succeed in any case, and was 
already fully agreed with her friends as to the course 
she should take, careful not to pledge herself too far 
for the future ; and when Feria, leaving the Queen's 
death-bed, travelled to Hatfield to see the Princess, 
she was courteous enough, but firmly rejected every 
suggestion that she should owe anything to the patron- 
age of the King of Spain. 

Mary in her intervals of consciousness was devout 
and resigned, comforting the few friends who were 
left to sorrow around her bed, and exhorting them to 
faith and fortitude. It was the I7th November, and 
the light was struggling through the murky morning 
across the mist upon the marshes between Saint 
James's and the Thames, when the daily mass in 
Mary's dying chamber was being celebrated. The 
Queen was sick to death now, but the sacrament she 
ordered for the last time riveted her wandering brain, 
and the clouds that had obscured her intelligence 
passed away, giving place to almost preternatural 
clearness. She repeated the responses distinctly and 
firmly ; and when the celebrant chanted ' Agnus Dei 
qui tollis peccatur mundi] she exclaimed with almost 
startling plainness, * Miserere nobis ! Miserere nobis ! 
Dona nobis pacem" ; then, as the Host was elevated, 
she bowed in worship, with closed eyes that opened 
no more upon the world that for her had been so 

And so, with a prayer for mercy and peace upon 
her lips, and her last gaze on earth resting upon the 
holy mystery of her faith, Mary Tudor went to her 
account. 1 Her life was but a passing episode in the 

1 This account of Mary's last hours is from the Life of Jane Dormer, 
Duchess of Feria, by her confessor and secretary, Father Clifford. 


English Reformation.; for she was handicapped from 
the first by her unpopular marriage, and the,unstatej- 
manlike religious policy of her ecclesiastical Advisers. 
Like Tier mother, and her grandmother Isabel, she 
would deign to no compromise with what she considered 
evil. ' Rather would I lose ten crowns if I had them/ 
she exclaimed once, ' than palter with my conscience ' ; 
and, though to a less exalted degree, this was Philip's 
attitude of mind also. Fatejcast themAoth^inan^age 
when rigidity of belief_wasjbreaking down^belonTthe 
revival of ancient learning, jmd the widened outlook 
of life growing from the renaissance. They were 
pitted against rivals whose convictions were as wax, 
but who were determined not only to win but to 
appear right in this world, at any sacrifice of principle ; 
and the fight was an unequal one. Mary could not 
diange only once under dire' compulsion did she 
even pretend to give way in the matter of religion- 
Elizabeth changed as often and as completely as 
suited her purpose : Philip had only one invariable 
set of convictions and methods^ his rivals had none, 
but invented them and abandoned them as occasion 


And so Mary Tudor failed ; pitiably, because she_^ 
was naturally a good woman, who did her best accord- 
ing to her conscience. But the defects of her descent 
were too strong for her : she was a Tudor, and con-_ 
sequently domineering and obstinate ; she was a grand- 
daughter of Isabel the Catholic, and as a natural result 

mystically devout and exalted, raring nothing- for VimrLan 
suffering in the pursuit of her saintly aims ; she was an 
English Queen, proud of her island realm ; a Spanish 
princess, almost equally proud of the land of the 

Catholic kings ; and, to crown all, she was the consort 



of Philip IL, pledged to the cause for which he lived^ 
the unification of the Christian faith and the destruction 
of the power of France.^ Within a year of her death 
England was a Protestant country, and Philip was 
married to a French princess. 






WHEN Mary Tudor lay dying at Saint James's, and all 
England was in the throes of coming change, Feria 
archly hinted to Elizabeth that she might secure her 
succession and consolidate her throne by marrying her 
Spanish brother-in-law when her sister should die. 
Elizabeth loved such hints and smiled, though she did 
not commit herself; and for the next few weeks the 
main endeavour of Philip and his agents was to 
perpetuate his hold over England by means of the 
marriage of the new Queen. They all failed at first 
to gauge her character. Feria was certain that if she 
decided to marry a foreigner, ' her eyes would at once 
turn to your Majesty ' ; and, at length, after his usual 
tedious deliberation and endless prayers, Philip once 
more donned the garb of matrimonial martyrdom and 
bade Feria offer his hand to the daughter of Anne 
Boleyn. The conditions he laid down were ridiculous, 
for even he quite misunderstood the strength of Eliza- 
beth and the new national spirit of her people. She 
must amongst many other things become a Catholic, 
and obtain secret absolution from the Pope. * In this 
way it will be evident that I am serving the Lord in 
marrying her, and that she has been converted by my 
act.' Elizabeth keenly enjoyed the compliment con- 
veyed by the offer ; but she neither wished nor dared 
to accept it, and she played with the subject with de- 
lightful skill until the latest possible moment. While 



the question was pending, Philip kept open the peace 
negotiations with France, in order that, if he had his 
way in England, pressure might be exerted to obtain 
the restitution of Calais ; but as soon as it became clear 
that he was being used by this cunning young woman 
as a cat's paw, he gave her clearly to understand that 
he intended to make peace himself, Calais or no Calais ; 
and the treaty of Cateau Cambresis was signed on the 
2nd April 1559, leaving the erstwhile English fortress 
in the hands of France. 

Throughout the negotiations that followed Eliza- 
beth's accession, Philip's advisers urged upon him 
incessantly the vital need for him to retain his hold over 
England by conquest and force if other means failed. 
TFe new Queen, they said, was not yet firmly estab- 
lished ; the country was unsettled, and now was the 
time to act if ever. Philip was well aware that the 
friendship of England was of greater importance to 
him than ever, but he hated war, and the growth of 
protestantism in Europe, especially now that Elizabeth 
was Queen of England, had suggested to him a com- 
bination that exactly suited his diplomatic methods. 
When the peace negotiations had first been broached 
in the summer of 1558, Henry n. of France had sug- 
gested that a close league of the great Catholic powers 
might be formed to withstand the growth of heresy 
throughout Europe. Such combinations had been 
attempted several times before, but had never been 
sincerely carried out ; national traditions had always 
been too strong. It had been further proposed at the 
ephemeral truce of Vaucelles in 1556, that the friend- 
ship of France and Spain might be cemented by the 
marriage of Philip's only son Carlos to Henry's eldest 
daughter Elizabeth of France. 


The idea slumbered and the truce was broken ; but 
at the begining of the peace negotiations of Cateau 
Cambresis the marriage was again brought forward, 
and in principle accepted by Philip. When it became 
evident after Mary Tudor's death that England under 
the new Queen might stand aside, or even permanently 
oppose Spain on religious grounds, Philip decided that 
an entire change of policy that should isolate Elizabeth 
would suit him better than war. So a close union with 
France was adopted ; Philip^s name was substituted for 
that of his son in the treaty, and the widower of thirty- 
two became the betrothed" husband of the most 
beautiful and gifted princess in Europe, the^dainty eldest 
daughter of Henry n. and Catharine de Medici.^ It 
was a clever stroke oT policy ; for it not only bound 
France to Philip against heresy everywhere, as it was 
intended to do, but it enabled him to counteract from 
the inside any attempt on the part of his allies to de- 
pose Elizabeth of England in favour of Mary Queen 
of Scots, the next Catholic heir and the betrothed wife 
of the Dauphin of France. So far as France was 
concerned, the substitution of Philip for his son as a 
husband of the princess was an advantage. Don 
Carlos, though of the same age as the bride (14), was 
a deformed, stunted epileptic, who probably for years 
to come, if ever, would not possess any political power ; 
whereas Philip, in the prime of manhood, was by far 
the most powerful sovereign in the world at the time, 
and could, if he chose, at once render any aid that 
France might need in suppressing the reformers. 

Elizabeth of Valois, or Isabel of the Peace, as the 
Spaniards called her, was the flower of an evil flock. 
Tall, graceful, and well formed, even in her precocious 
youth, she had been destined from her birth for splendid 


marriage. ' My daughter, Elizabeth, is such that she 
must not be married to a duchy. She must have a 
kingdom, and a great one/ said her proud father once, 
when his younger daughter Claude was married to the 
Duke of Lorraine ; and the Spanish ambassador, 
describing her magnificent christening feast at Fon- 
tainebleau, in July 1546, says that : ' Isabel was chosen 
for her name, because of the hope they have at a future 
time of a marriage between her and the Infant (i.e. Don 
Carlos), and Isabel is a name beloved in Spain.' 1 We 
may doubt the correctness of this ; for the Princess's 
sponsor was Henry vm. of England, and probably he 
chose the name after his own mother, Elizabeth of York. 
Isabel grew up by the side of her sister-in-law, the 
young^tjueen of Scots ; and although the latter was 
four years the senior of her companion, they were close 
rivals in the learning then becoming fashionable for 
young ladies of rank. The curious Latin and French 
didactic letters written by Mary Stuart, aged ten or 
eleven, to her little sister-in-law, although prim and 
priggish according to our present ideas, throw a flood of 
light upon the^severe and systematic training for their 
future position that the young princesses underwent. 
After making all allowances for inevitable flattery on the 
part of such a courtier as Brantome, it is evident that 
Isabel was a beauty of the very first rank. ' Her visage 
was lovely and her eyes and hair black, which contrasted 
with her complexion, and made her so attractive, that 
I have heard say in Spain that the gentlemen did not 
dare to look at her, for fear of falling in love with her, 
and to their own peril making the King jealous. The 

1 A curious account of the splendid festival, which celebrated at the 
same time the signature of the peace with England and Isabel's baptism, 
is given by the Spanish ambassador. (Spanish Calendar, vol. viii., edited 
by Martin Hume.) 


churchmen also avoided looking at her for fear of 
temptation ; as they did not possess sufficient strength 
to dominate the flesh on regarding her.' In 1552 she 
was betrothed to Edward vi. of England, and this 
danger to Spain, averted by Edward's death, made 
Philip and his father all the more eager to keep a firm 
hold upon England as soon as Mary's accession made 
an alliance possible. 

It was this young beauty of fourteen whose portrait 
by Janet was sent to Philip in the early days of 1559. 
He was always an admirer of women, and had been 
twice an affectionate husband ; but his first wife he 
had married when he was but a boy, and she died 
within a year ; and his second wife, Mary Tudor, 
was, as we have seen, married to him for political 
reasons alone. Dona Isabel de Osorio, who had been 
his acknowledged mistress for years, and had borne 
him children, had retired into a convent, and was, of 
course, now out of the question. The sight of this 
radiant young French beauty seems to have stirred 
Philip's heart to as much eagerness as he was capable 
of feeling. 1 But though the bride was an attractive 
one, and her own family exhausted eulogy in her 
praise, as well they might, for no princess of her 
time excelled her, the^marriage was regardedjon both 
sides as a political event of the first importance, 
though, as we shall s^e a _jJL_^came^eally mure -im- 
portant even than was anticipated. It was vital for 
Philip that he should have some control over French 
policy now that friendship with England was deniecl 

1 The Bishop of Limoges, writing to Cardinal Lorraine soon after the 
betrothal (8th August 1559), says : ' Never was a prince so delighted with 
any creature as he (*'.*., Philip) is with the Catholic Queen, his wife. It 
is impossible to put his joy in a letter.' L. Paris, ' Negociations sous 
Francois II.' 


him ; whilst to have his own clever daughter by the 
side of Philip was to the King of France a guarantee 
that no step inimical to him would be taken in Sgajn 
without his knowledge, and that he could depend upon 
the help, or at least the neutrality, of Spain if he had 
to deal with the French and Scotch reformers, who 
seemed to threaten the basis of authority. Thence- 
forward the Catholic sheep were to stand apart from 
the Protestant goats throughout the world. 

So, when the saturnine Duke of Alba, with his 
train of gallant gentlemen, rode into Paris on the 
igth June 1559 to wed Isabel, as proxy for Philip, 
the court and capital, all swept and garnished in its 
gayest garb, were impressed with the knowledge that 
these brilliant nuptials were intended to mark a new 
departure in the politics of Christendom. Led by the 
princes of the blood royal of France, the Spaniards 
and Flemings who represented Philip rode through 
the crowded and jubilant city to the Louvre, heralded 
by triumphal music, and were received at the door 
by Henry n. and his court. Alba dismounted and 
knelt at the King's feet, but was raised and embraced 
by Henry, and, arm in arm, Philip's proxy and his 
erstwhile enemy entered the great hall where the 
Queen Catharine and her daughter sat in gorgeous 
state, surrounded by their ladies. As Alba knelt and 
kissed the hem of the girl's robe, it was noticed that 
the colour fled from her cheek, and she rose from 
her chair and remained standing whilst the Duke 
read to her Philip's message, and handed to her the 
splendid casket of jewels he had sent her. One of 
the gifts was a portrait of the bridegroom in a superb 
diamond locket, which Isabel pressed to her lips. 

On the next day, 2Oth June, the same great hall 


of the Louvre was crowded with the princes and 
nobles of France, whilst the solemn betrothal cere- 
mony was performed that gave to Isabel the title of 
Queen of Spain: and on Thursday, 2ist June, the 
capital was alive from early dawn for the marriage 
itself. Frenchmen and Spaniards alike could speak 
of nothing but the dignity and beauty of the bride. 
Even Alba, dour as he was, broke into exclamations 
at the perfections of the new Queen, and grew almost 
romantic in her praises in his letters to Philip. Isabel, 
indeed, had been well schooled by her mother, whom 
she feared and admired more than any other person 
in the world. Catharine de Medici was still, to some 
extent, in the shade, for the Duchess of Valentinois 
was the real Queen ; but she was profoundly wise, 
and had moulded her favourite daughter well for the 
character she was destined to play. Isabel herself 
was fully conscious of the great position she was 
called to fill, and was proud of the triumph that was 

She bore herself throughout the trying ceremonies 
with a composure and grace which she knew were 
fitting for the Queen of Spain ; and as she glided, 
holding her handsome father's hand, along the 
gorgeous aised and covered gangway leading from 
the bishop's palace to the great door of Notre Dame, 
she presented a vision of beauty adorned with such 
stately magnificence as can rarely have been sur- 
passed, even at the marriage of her friend and sister- 
in-law, Mary Stuart, in the same place shortly before. 
The texture of Isabel's robe was literally interwoven 
with pearls. Round her neck was suspended Philip's 
portrait, and the great pear - shaped pearl which 
was the greatest treasure in the crown jewels of 


Spain. Her mantle was of blue velvet, enriched 
with a border of bullion embroidery a foot wide. 
The train of this gorgeous robe was borne by her 
sister Claude, Duchess of Lorraine, and Mary Stuart, 
Queen of Scots, and, as she foolishly called herself, 
Queen of England. Isabel wore an imperial crown 
which, we are told, cast a halo of light around her 
as she walked, so refulgent were the jewels of which 
it was composed. 1 Alba, in cloth of gold and with 
the royal insignia, personated his absent master, and 
in his name was married to the Princess by Cardinal 
de Bourbon. Splendour truly seems to have excelled 
itself in that sumptuous court on this occasion ; the 
long-standing enemies, France and Spain, each trying 
to outdazzle the other in its lavish magnificence. 

But scowling faces there were not a few, for this 
was the triumph of the house of Lorraine, and the 
debonair Duke of Guise and his brothers took no 
pains to hide their elation, whilst the princes of the 
blood of the house of Bourbon, the Montmorencis and 
the reformers were full of foreboding, for they knew 
now that their enemies could look across the Pyrenees, 
almost certain of aid from the most powerful potentate 
on earth. Queen Catharine, too, clerical though she 
was, smiled with a bitter heart, for she had no love 
for the house of Guise. For days the festivities went 
on : masque and banquet, ball and tournament follow- 
ing each other with wearisome brilliancy, for another 
daughter of France, Margaret, was wedded at the 
same time to the Duke of Savoy, and the double 
nuptials called for double display. 

At length the last and greatest of the gallant shows 
was held under the shadow of the Bastille, hard by the 

1 Miss Freer's * Elizabeth de Valois,' quoted from Godefroi. 


gate of St. Antoine, on the 3Oth June. In gorgeous 
tribunes under broidered silken canopies sat the Queen 
of France and Spain, Catharine and her dearest 
daughter ; and the Duchesses of Lorraine and Savoy, 
with the fairest court in Christendom, gathered around 
the great parallelogram of the lists to witness the tour- 
nament. The glittering courtiers, gay as they looked, 
who stood behind the ladies in the seats, knew that 
the ^wedding feast really celebrated a political event oX. 
the_firsr^corisequence. It JorebodecT the suppression 
of Protestantism in Scotland by France, a war with 
j&hgland, and the crushing of reform in France itself 
and in Flanders ; for there was to be no more para- 
lysing rivalry between" Philip and his new father-in-law, 
a"ncl iT maHe the Catholic Guises the masters of France. 
Butlione could tell that the stroke_that_was to seFall 
these events into immediate motion was to fall so soork 
Henry 11., shallow and vain of his unquestioned pre- 
eminence in the gallant sport, rode into the lists upon 
a big bay war horse, decked, like its rider, with the 
black and white devices and interlaced crescents of 
Diane de Poitiers, Duchess of Valentinois. The 
King of France was determined in the presence of 
the Spanish grandees to show that he, at least, was 
no carpet knight, like their King Philip, and he rode 
course after course victoriously with princes and nobles, 
until the light began to wane. Catharine, desirous of 
ending the dangerous sport, sent a message from her 
tribune to pray her husband to tilt no more for that 
day. Henry laughed to scorn such timid counsel. 
He would run once more against the Franco-Scot 
Montgomerie, Sieur de L'Orge, who tried his best to 
avoid the encounter without success. At the first shock 
Montgomerie's lance carried away the King's visor, but 


the shaft broke with the force of the impact and a 
great jagged splinter pierced the eye and brain of 
Henry of Valois, who, within three days, was dead. 

The whole political position was changed in a day. 
The new King Francis and his wife, Mary Stuart, 
were little more than children ; and the young Queen's 
uncles the Guises would rule France unless Catharine 
the Queen Dowager could beat them on their own 
ground. For her, indeed, the hour had now come, or 
was coming. For years she had been patient whilst 
the King's mistress held sway ; but if she could com- 
bine the enemies of the Guises now she might be 
mistress of France. The alliance with Spain was no 
longer to be used if she could help it as a means for 
crushing Protestantism ; for to Protestantism she must 
partly look to crush the Guises ; but if by diplomacy 
and the efforts of her daughter Isabel she could win 
Spanish support to her side on personal grounds, then 
she might triumph over her foes. It needed, as we 
shall see, consummate skill and chicanery, and, in the 
end, it did not succeed ; for Philip would naturally in 
the long run tend towards the Guises, the enemies of 
reform, and he was easily led by a woman. 

And thus the mission of Isabel of Valois in marrying 
Philip was changed in a moment^ by Montgomerie's 
unlucky lance thrust from a national and religious to. 
a nersonal and political object. But Philip was a 
difficult man to be used for the ends of others ; what 
he had needed was French neutrality whilst he tackled 
heresy, and he had no desire to forward the interests 
oTan ambitious Italian woman whom he hated ; though 
at first there was just one element that made him in- 
clined to smile upon Catharine, doubtfully orthodox 
though she was. The_Queen of Scots and France 


was Catholic heiress of England ; and the Guises were. 
already preparing to employ French national forces to 
oTost Elizabeth in favour of their niece. This Philip 
could never have permitted : better for him a Protes- 
umt E no land than a French England : so again 
national interests over-rode religious affinities, and 
before the ink of the treaty of Cateau Cambresis was 
well dry the spirit that inspired the agreement was as 
dead as the king who had conceived it. 

Philip was still at Ghent when the news of Henry's 
death reached him, yearning to get back again to his 
beloved Spain, and full of anxiety that even there the 
detested heresy was raising its head in his absence. 
His Netherlands dominions would clearly have to be 
taught submission ; Elizabeth of England was posi- 
tively insolent in her disregard of him, and if Spain 
failed in orthodoxy then indeed would he and his cause_ 
be lost. His most pressing need therefore, for the 
moment, was to keep the alliance with France intact 
foF~the purpose he had in view, whilst restraining the 
activity of the Guises in England on behalf of their 
niece, Mary Stuart- All went well in this respect at 
first. The Montmorencis and the princes of Bourbon 
were divested of political power, the ultra Catholic 
party was paramount, and even the Queen mother, 
Catharine, was working in apparent harmony with the 
Guises. But to keep his hand firmly upon the machine 
of government in France, it was desirable for Philip to 
have at his side at the earliest possible day his young 
French wife. Whilst Isabel was yet in mourning 
seclusion with her mother, Philip continued to press 
for her early coming, and in July the French ambas- 
sador, the Guisan Bishop of Limoges, told the im- 
patient bridegroom that the Princess now only awaited 


the instructions of her future husband to commence 
the journey towards the Spanish frontier. 

As usual, the smallest detail was discussed and 
settled by Philip with his Council at Ghent ; the 
choice of the Queen's confessor, the exact etiquette to 
be followed on her reception in Spanish territory and 
afterwards, the number of her French household, the 
amount of baggage she and her suite might bring, and 
even the exact manner in which she was to greet the 
Spaniards who went to receive her. On the 3rd 
August Philip wrote from Ghent to the Cardinal 
Archbishop of Burgos to make ready with his brother, 
the Duke of Infantado, to proceed to the frontier for 
the new Queen's reception soon after the King himself 
should arrive in Spain. But Isabel's departure from 
her own land could not be arranged hurriedly. There 
was a prodigious trousseau to be prepared, so enormous, 
indeed, as to strike with dismay the Spanish officers 
who had to arrange for its conveyance over the 
Pyrenees and the rough bridle paths of Spain ; 
Catharine, too, was loath to let her daughter go 
before she had indoctrinated her with her new task 
in Spain, and she insisted upon her attending the 
coronation of her brother, Francis IL, at Rheims in mid 

Philip, always impatient for the coming of his bride, 
arrived in Spain by sea on the 8th September 1559; 
and signalised his arrival by the great auto de fe at 
Valladolid, that was to indicate to Europe that heresy 
was to be burnt out of the dominions of the^CathoT^g 
king. Full of far-reaching religious plansV Tor^which 
it was necessary that he should be sure of France, the 
presence of his French wife by his side was more than 
ever necessary, and in October he sent a special envoy, 


Count Buendia, to France to demand that the bride 
should start at once : ' first, because of the great desire 
of his Majesty to see and keep the Catholic Queen in 
his realm as soon as possible, he begs most earnestly 
his good brother the Christian King and Queen 
Catharine, to arrange so that, in any case, the Queen 
should start at once, and arrive at Bayonne by the 
end of November.' l Another letter from the King to 
the same effect was written to Isabel herself, and she 
in reply promised through the French ambassador in 
Spain to delay her departure no longer. 

But week followed week*, and yet the bride came 
not.' Splendid presents and loving messages from 
"PTTilip went to her frequently, and kind replies were 
returned from Isabel and her mother. But intrigue 
was already rife in the French court, and Catharjne 
was trying to gain promises trom Philip to support 
her against those who, she said, were bent upon dis- 
turbing her son's realm. So every excuse was seized 
upon to keep Isabel in France. jjntil Philip bar! 
promised what was required The French found him 
anything but compliant, and at length, in the depth 
of winter (i;th December), Isabel, with her mother 
and brother, and a great train of courtiers, left Blois 
on her long journey south. The household of the 
new Queen appointed by her mother was extremely 
numerous, notwithstanding the remonstrances of 
Philip's agents, who broadly hinted that they would 
not be allowed to remain in Spain. Three of the 
Bourbon princes of the blood, Anthony, Duke of 
Vendome, husband of Jeanne d'Albret, titular Queen 
of Navarre, his brother, Cardinal de Bourbon, and 
the Prince of Roche sur Yon, were to accompany her 

1 ' Documentos Ineditos/ vol. iii. Philip to Francis II. from Valladolid. 



to the frontier, a good excuse for sending them away 
from Paris, and two Bourbon princesses, the Countess 
d'Harcourt (Madame de Rieux), and her niece, Anne 
of Bourbon, were to go with her into Spain. 

All these great personages and scores of others 
needed long lists of servitors and trains of baggage, 
and the journey over the snowy winter paths was long 
and tedious. The greatest difficulty was foreseen, how- 
ever, in the transport over the Pyrenees of the vast 
mass of impedimenta taken by Isabel and her ladies. 
Much of it was sent by sea, and was only received 
in Spain after long delay and continued annoyance to 
the ladies, who had to appear in the ceremonies with- 
out their fine clothes. The girl lost heart as the time 
grew near to bid farewell to her mother. She loved 
France dearly, with an ardour she never lost to the 
last day of her life, and the French people returned 
her devotion. Along the roads to Chatellerault crowds 
stood in tears, invoking blessings upon the angel who 
\ v^asJLo be sacrificed on the altar of peace. France 
and Spain had been at war for generations': Philip's 
cold, haughty demeanour, which had earned him the 
dislike of Flemings, was equally distasteful to French- 
men, and stories current of the gloomy rigidity of his 
monastic court struck the heart of the bright young 
beauty with fear and dread. 

For some days Catharine and her daughter stayed 
at Chatellerault, loath to say good-bye ; but at last, on 
the 29th November, the parting could be delayed no 
longer, and, heartbroken, mother and daughter took a 
tearful farewell. Isabel had been reared in the poetical 
court in which Ronsard sang, and every courtier wooed 
in verse. Mary Stuart throughout her life showed the 
effects of such training, and so did Isabel. She and 


her mother had exchanged poetical letters during the 
months of their mourning, and continued to do so 
afterwards ; and on her lonely way from Chatellerault 
Isabel solaced herself by inditing a letter in verse to 
the beloved mother whom she had just left. As poetry 
it leaves much to be desired. The poem is too long 
to quote, but in it the writer compares her desire to 
see her husband with the much stronger natural love 
for her mother, who, she says, is to her father, mother, 
and husband in one. The epistle ends thus : 

' Tantost je sens mon ceil plorer puis ryre, 
Mais la fin est toujours d'estre martyre, 
Qui durera sans prendre fin ne cesse, 
Jusques d tant que je reprenne adresse 
Pour retourner vers vous en diligence : 
Lors oblyant la trop facheuse absence 
Je recevrai la joye et le plaisir, 
Et joyrez de mon parfait desir 
D'ensemble veoir pere mere et mari.' ' 

The next morning brought Isabel a similar poem of 
regretful adieu from her mother, and some really 
poetical lines from Mary Stuart, in which the following 
occur : 

' Les pleurs font mal au coeur joyeux et sain, 
Mais au dolent, ils-servent quasi de pain : 
Car si le mal par les pleurs n'est alleg 
A tout moins il en est soulageV 

Through snow-clad France the long cavalcade slowly 
made its way. Endless questions of etiquette, prompted 
by pride and jealousy on both sides, occupied French 
and Spanish officials the while. Philip, as usual, saw 
to the smallest point himself. The proud Mendoza 

1 Bibliotheque Nationale, ' Fonds Frangois,' No. 7237, where there is 
a considerable collection of the poems of both mother and daughter 
unprinted. Miss Frere quotes some of Catharine's lines to Isabel, but 
not the above. 


Cardinal objected to give precedence to the King of 
Navarre, as he was not a real king, and the Doge of 
Venice had always given place to Cardinal Mendoza, 
' The Prince of Roche sur Yon may be called "lordship," 
because he is of royal blood, but he must have only 
the privileges of an ambassador whilst in Spain.' The 
Countess of Urena, who was to be Isabel's mistress 
of the robes, a proud dame in Philip's entire confidence, 
was to keep close to the Queen, and decide all points 
of feminine etiquette ; whilst Lopez de Guzman, 
Isabel's Spanish chief steward, was to arrange every- 
thing according to Spanish etiquette in her table 
service. Cardinal Mendoza was instructed to alight 
and salute the Queen humbly when he first approached 
her, and his brother the Duke was to kiss her hand, 
notwithstanding any reluctance she might show. Each 
morning the Cardinal was to visit her, whereupon she 
was to receive him standing, and order an arm-chair to 
be brought for him, and he was to be seated whilst he 
stayed with her. The Duke of Infantado, chief of the 
Mendozas, was only to be received by the Queen 
standing the first time he visited her, and for him was 
to be brought a red velvet stool upon which to sit ; but 
the Duke was warned that this privilege was only to 
last during the journey, and was to cease when Isabel 
joined her husband. 1 And so on, down to the smaller 
courtiers in gradation, the honours to be given and 
received are all set down in minute detail, that of itself 
was sufficient to strike awe in a young girl of fifteen, 
who had passed her life in the gay poetical court of her 

It was a cruel irony that sent Anthony de Bourbon, 
the shadowy King Consort of Navarre, to deliver the 

1 * Documentos Ineditos,' vol. iii. 


French Consort of the real King of Navarre to her 
husband on the frontier of the little mountain kingdom, 
and he probably only accepted the mission in the hope 
that the long-pending negotiations with Spain, for 
giving him some adequate compensation, such as the 
title of King of Sardinia, might be advantageously 
pushed on such an occasion. Philip fooled poor vain 
Anthony as long as it suited him, but without the 
remotest intention of giving any satisfaction to the 
house of Navarre. When, therefore, in deep snow- 
drifts the Queen's cavalcade reached the little frontier 
town of St. Jean Pied de Port on the last day in the 
year 1559, and France was all behind them, Anthony 
and the other Bourbon princes were on the alert to 
resent any slight that might be offered to them by 
the Spaniards. The exchange of the Queen to the 
custody of her husband's envoys was to be made at 
a point between St. Jean and the Spanish hamlet of 
Roncesvalles, but the inclement weather and heavy snow 
made it impossible to reach the elevated spot agreed 
upon ; and for three days Isabel and her French suite 
tarried weatherbound at St. Jean. For the first time 
she donned there the Spanish dress, and received 
some of her Spanish household ; and on the 3rd 
January 1560 she started on horseback towards the 
frontier, for she refused to enter her new realm in a 
litter, and thus, with her veritable army of attendants 
and baggage-train, she tramped through the savage 
pass and into the valley of Valcarlos into Spain. 

The cold was intense, and through the elevated 
mountain paths the snowstorm drove furiously, yet 
she pushed bravely on until she could gain the shelter 
of the monastery church of Our Lady of Roncesvalles 
in Spanish territory. It was a great concession for 


the French to make, and Anthony de Bourbon would 
not have crossed the frontier first but for the insistence 
of Isabel, and the impossibility of carrying out the 
ceremonious programme of handing over the Queen 
in a Pyrenean pass in a mid-winter snowstorm. 
Further than Roncesvalles he was determined he 
would not go, though only five miles further, at the 
village of Espinal, the Cardinal and the Duke with 
the Spanish train were lodged. At the gate of the 
Augustinian monastery, where the King of Navarre 
helped the almost frozen Queen to alight, there stood 
beside the prior and dignitaries a group of Spanish 
nobles who had ridden over from Espinal unofficially 
to greet their new Queen ; and after the religious 
ceremony and prayers in the beautifully decorated 
church, these nobles and their followers almost came 
to open fight with the Frenchmen. As Isabel left 
the church to enter the apartments in the monastery 
assigned to her, the Spaniards, jealous that in their 
own country Frenchmen alone should attend the 
Queen, flocked in unbidden after her, and had to be 
forcibly ejected by those in attendance upon her. 1 

Distrust and suspicion prevailed on all hands. It 
had~t>een arranged, after much courtly wrangling, that 
the transfer of the custody of the Queen should take 
place at a point exactly midway between Roncesvalles 
and Espinal, but King Anthony made the weather an 
excuse probably a perfectly good one for urging 
the Spaniards to come the whole way to Roncesvalles, 
rather than expose the Queen and themselves to a 
long ceremony in an open field three feet deep in 

1 The account of Isabel's voyage and reception is drawn mainly from 
the narratives of eyewitnesses in the correspondence published by M. L. 
Paris in ' Negociations sous Frangois II.' 


snow. But Infantado was shocked at the idea that 
he and his brother the Cardinal should be asked to 
go a step further than the Frenchmen, and refused. 
Anthony remonstrated, but in vain ; and in the lone 
monastery in the Pyrenean valley Isabel passed two 
more days waiting for either the pride or the snow 
to melt. At length she lost patience. She was as 
tenacious of French honour as any one, Jbut she well 
knew that the success of her mission depended upon 
hefwinning the affections of the Spaniards, and on 
tHe^th January she sent for Navarre and told him 
that she intended herself to ride to the spot agreed 
upon for the exchange. The French nobles were 
indignant, and at first inclined to shirk the journey, 
but Isabel, young as she was, could be imperious 
and insisted ; and in torrents of sleet the great 
cavalcade, with the ceremonial finery already be- 
draggled, had prepared to start, when the welcome 
message came from Espinal that the Duke and the 
Cardinal had relented, and were now on their way to 
Roncesvalles to obey, as they said, the summons of 
their Queen. 

The utmost confusion then ensued, for the whole 
of the baggage, with hangings, furniture and dresses 
had been packed, and much of it had already started 
forward, especially the best frocks and furbelows of 
Isabel's crowd of ladies, who saw their beds and 
finery no more for many a long day. The light was 
failing in the stormy winter day when Cardinal 
Mendoza and his brother Infantado, preceded by sixty 
Spanish nobles in brave attire, marched side by side 
up the great torch-lit hall, at the end of which Cardinal 
de Bourbon stood upon a canopied dais, surrounded 
by French ecclesiastics and nobles. Under the cloth 


of state, blazoned with the lilies of France, the powers 
of the envoys were exchanged and read ; and then, 
with much stately salutation and stilted verbiage, the 
Spanish nobles were led to the chamber where, upon 
a raised throne, Isabel awaited them with King 
Anthony and the two Bourbon ladies. But the place, 
a solitary mountain monastery, was unfit for courtly 
ceremonies ; and the Spaniards were so eager to do 
homage to their new Queen that soon all seemliness 
was lost, and a jostling crowd filled the presence 
chamber, each Spaniard trying to get the best place 
and hustling rudely aside the French, and even the 
French ladies in attendance, until the latter had to 

Isabel remained calm and dignified, determined to 
say nothing to offend the Spaniards ; but when the 
Mendozas advanced, and the actual exchange was to 
be made, she turned pale as she stood to receive 
and greet them. Through the interminable pompous 
speeches that accompanied her transfer she remained 
outwardly unmoved, but when Navarre had actually 
handed to the custody of Spaniards ' this princess, 
whom I have taken from the house of the greatest 
king in the world to be delivered to the most 
illustrious sovereign upon earth,' and the Bourbon 
princes came forward and knelt to say farewell, the 
girl's strength broke down, and she wept bitterly. 
Cardinal Mendoza, apparently to improve the occasion, 
advanced and chanted the verse, Audi filia et vide 
inclina aurem tuam, and the response was intoned 
by another Spanish priest, obliviscere populum tuum, 
et domum patris tui. She^joved her people and the 
home of her fathers dearly ; she was going, almost 
a child, to live the rest of her Fife amongst strangers 


who had been the enemies of her house for genera- 
tions, ^tcT wed a man she had never seen, but of 
wKom she could have heard little but evil ; and, aiT 
the" words of the versicle were croaked by the eccle- 
siastic, they seemed to the overwrought girl a sentence 
of doom, and in an agony of tears she threw herself 
into the arms of Anthony of Navarre and his brother 
the Cardinal. She was led away gently by Infantado, 
with some chiding words that she, the Queen of Spain, 
should so condescend to the Duke of Vendome. In 
the midst of her grief she answered with spirit that 
she did so by order of her brother, and, ' as to princes 
of the blood, and after the fashion of the nation to 
which, up to that moment, she had belonged.' 1 And, 
so still in tears, the beautiful black-eyed girl was led 
to the Spanish litter awaiting her, and through the 
heavily-falling snow was carried, to the sound of many 
hautboys and trumpets, to the wretched village of 
Burgete, where she was to pass the night ; even there, 
comforted by the beds, hangings, lights, food and 
delicacies, sent by her French countrymen to furnish 
forth her poor quarters.' 2 

There is no space here to follow the Queen step 
by step through her new country to join her husband 
It was a progress full of jealousy and bitterness between 
the French household of the Queen, that still accom- 
panied her, and the Spanish courtiers. At Pamplona, 
the capital of Navarre, where the" company passed 
three days, Isabel charmed all hearts by her grace 
and beauty as she was carried through the thronged 
thoroughfares from the cathedral to the royal palace 

* Negotiations sous Frangois n.,' p. 173. 

2 Even more comforted, we are told, were the poor maids of honour, 
whose own beds and baggage had gone astray. 


where she was to lodge. At the foot of the grand 
staircase stood a lady of fifty, stern and haughty in 
appearance, but now all smiles as she kissed the hand 
of the Queen and delivered to her a letter from King 
Philip. It was the Countess of Urena, daughter of 
the Alburquerques and the Toledos, and one of the 
greatest ladies in Spain, who had been chosen by 
Philip as the guide, philosoper and friend of his new 
consort. She looked sourly upon the two Bourbon 
princesses whom she was obliged to salute ; and on 
the departure from Pamplona after three days of 
rejoicing Isabel, desirous of propitiating the Countess 
of Urena, whom Philip had praised inordinately in his 
letters, offered her a seat in her own litter. This she 
thought fit to refuse, as she was panting for the fray 
to establish her precedence next to the Queen ; and 
when the cavalcade was starting her lackeys, violently 
hustling aside the equipage of the elder Bourbon 
princess Madame de Rieux, intruded that of the 
countess into the place in front of it. An affray 
resulted, and an appeal to the Queen, who decided 
politely in favour of the blood royal of France until 
King Philip himself should give his orders which 
he subsequently did by placing the countess between 
Madame de Rieux and her unmarried niece. But the 
proud dame stored up in her mind the memory of 
the slight, and many a troubled hour for Isabel grew 
out of this incident. 

The young Queen's life in Spain may now be said 
to have commenced, and already she had shown the 
tact and diplomacy so extraordinary in a girl of fifteen. 
Her hold upon the affection of the Spaniards was 
tenacious from the first, owing partly, of course, to 
her great beauty and sweetness, but also to her 


prompt adaptability and acceptance of Spanish customs. 
From her childhood she had studied Spanish, and a 
very few weeks after her entrance she spoke it fluently. 
But she never forgot her own people and her own_ 
tongufiZT^To Frenchmen she always spoke in French,' 
wrote Brantome, 'and would never consent to dis- 
continue it, reading always in French the most 
beautiful books that could be got in France, which 
she was very curious to obtain. To Spaniards and 
other foreigners she spoke Spanish very correctly. 
In short, this princess was perfect in everything, 
besides being so splendid and liberal as never was 
seen. She never wore a dress twice, but gave them 
all after once wearing to her ladies ; and God knows 
what rich and splendid dresses they were ; so rich 
and superb, indeed, that the least of them cost three 
or four hundred crowns, for the King, her husband, 
kept her very lavishly in such things. Every day 
she had a new one, as I was told by her own tailor, 
who went thither a poor man and became richer than 
anybody, as I have seen with my own eyes. She 
was always attired with extreme magnificence, and 
lier dresses suited her beautifully : amongst others, 
those with slashed sleeves with laced points, and her 
head-dress always matched, so that nothing was 
wanting. Those who saw her thus in a painted 
portrait admired her, and I will leave you to guess 
the delight it was to see her face to face with her 
sweetness and grace. . . . When she went walking 
anywhere, either to church or to the monasteries or 
gardens, there was such a great press and crowds of 
people to gaze upon her that it was impossible to 
stir ; and happy indeed was the person who could say 
after the struggle, " I have seen the Queen." Never 


was a queen so beloved in Spain as she ; not even 
the great Queen Isabel herself. The people called 
her the Queen of peace and goodness, ancTlouf 
Frenchmen called her the " olive branch." ?I 

Philip at Guadalajara, the town of the Mendozas, 
waited impatiently the coming of his bride. With him 
from Toledo had come his sombre widowed sister Joan, 
and when they learned, at the end of January 1560, 
that the Queen's cavalcade was approaching, it was 
made known that the King wished special efforts to be 
made by the city to welcome his bride. Through 
artificial flowering woods with tethered birds and 
animals, through lines of gaily decked booths amply 
supplied with good cheer for the free refreshment of 
her suite, by kneeling aldermen in crimson velvet and 
white satin, and through an admiring populace, Isabel 
of the Peace rode into the city between the Cardinal 
of Burgos and the Duke of Infantado. At the door 
of the famous palace of the Mendozas, where Philip 
lodged, stood Princess Joan, who half knelt and kissed 
the hem of the girl's garment ; then led her by the hand 
into the large hall, at the end of which a sumptuous 
altar was erected. Before it, in a gilded chair, sat 
Isabel's husband, grave of aspect beyond his thirty- 
three years. He saluted his bride ceremoniously ; and 
after mass at the altar the marriage was performed by 
Cardinal Mendoza. 

Philip's impatience for his bride had been more 
political than personal, for he needed above all things 
to be sure of France, and there was at first little 
cordiality between the newly wedded pair. The first 
afternoon, as the sovereigns sat in their tribune wit- 
nessing the bull fight and cane tourneys held in the 

1 Brantome, ' Dames Illustres.' 


great square of Guadalajara to celebrate the wedding, 
the frightened girl gazed so fixedly in the face of her 
husband that Philip became annoyed, and turned to 
her curtly and said : 'What are you looking at? To. 
see whether I have grey hair.' 1 Through the tedious 
feasting that followed, the marriage still looked un- 
promising. The girl was unformed and inexperienced, 
and was overwhelmed with the importance of the task 
Her mother had confided to her. Around her there 
raged incessant jealousy, both between the Countess 
of Urena and her French ladies, and amongst the 
French ladies themselves, and it needed all the author- 
ity of Catharine de Medici, and the fear with which 
she inspired her daughter, to keep Isabel on the right 
path amidst the contending factions. 

The letters that passed betwen them show how 
absolute was the command that at first Catharine 
exercised over her daughter, a command that later was 
to~a great extent replaced by that of Philip. Isabel 
in the quarrels of her French ladies had sided with 
Madame Vimeux against her principal attendant, 
Madame de Clermont, and, girl like, had made friends 
with some of her younger French maids. Upon this 
her mother wrote to her as follows : ' It really looks 
very bad for you in the position you occupy to show 
that you are such a child still as to make much of your 
girls before people. When you are alone in your 
chamber in private, you may pass your time and play 
with them as much as you like, but before people be 
attentive to your cousin, 2 and Madame de Clermont. 
Talk with them often and believe what they say ; for 

1 Brantome says he had this story from one of Isabel's ladies in waiting 
who was present. 
8 i.e. Anne of Bourbon Montpensier. 


they are both wise, and aim at nothing but your honour 
and well being ; whereas those other wenches can only 
teach you folly and silliness. Therefore do what I tell 
you, if you wish me to be satisfied with you and love 
you, and to show me that you love me as you ought.' I 
From Guadalajara Philip and his Consort passed on 
to Toledo for the completion of the festivities, and to 
present his son Don Carlos to the Cortes, to receive 
their oath of allegiance as heir to the crowns of Castile. 
The capital received the Queen with unusual pomp, and 
after the public reception was over Isabel retired to her 
chamber with her favourite French maids, who for pas- 
time danced before her. Soon the Queen, flushed and 
excited, rose and danced several times herself. Her 
high colour was noticed by some of the elder ladies, 
who had been instructed by Catharine to watch the 
precious health of her daughter closely ; and in the 
morning Philip found that his girl wife was in a 
burning fever, which was soon pronounced to be small- 

x Up to this time Philip had not been particularly 
demonstrative towards his French bride ; and she had 
not quite got over her fear of him. But her dangerous 
illness struck both him and her mother with dismay. 
Sach of them was determined to use her as a means to 
keep a hold upon the other, and her death threatened 
to be disastrous for both ; but, apart from this, her 
mother was devotedly attached to her, and Philip was 
beginning to love her as he loved no other person in the 
world, except, years afterwards, his elder daughter by 
her. Couriers galloped backwards and forwards be- 
tween Paris and Toledo with daily news of the pro- 
gress of the malady. No fear for his health, no 

1 'Negotiations sous Francois II.,' p. 706. 


remonstrance from his courtiers, could persuade Philip 
to keep away from his sick wife ; and for long periods 
during the most dangerous stages of her illness he 
would not leave her side. Catharine was almost beside 
herself with anxiety. For her everything depended 
upon her daughter's success in gaining influence over 
her husband, and for this Isabel's beauty was as 
necessary as her life. The attack proved to be light, 
and the patient was soon out of danger ; but Catharine 
showered upon the ladies in attendance questions and 
counsels innumerable, as to the marks left by the fell 
disease. The many remedies she sent appear, accord- 
ing to Brantome, to have given way to the one which 
he mentions as having saved the Queen from dis- 
figurement ; namely, the covering of the exposed skin 
with fresh white of egg. Though Isabel was soon out 
of danger her convalescence was long and tedious, and 
the intimate details of her bodily habit and condition 
that passed between Catharine and Madame de Cler- 
mont, frank to the extreme of coarseness, show how 
increasingly the Queen-Mother was depending pon 
her Spanish son-in-law to sustain her amidst the war- 
ring interests that were rapidly dividing France. 

The irregularities so frequently reported by Madame 
de Clermont in Isabel's health, at one time seem to 
have suggested to her distracted mother that her dis- 
order was the outcome of the dreadful disease which 
it was stated she had inherited from her grandfather 
Francis i. ; and Catharine alternated scolding with 
prayers to her daughter to be circumspect, until Isabel 
trembled with very fear when she opened one of her 
mother's letters. 1 ' Recollect ' (wrote Catherine), * what 
I told you before you left. You know very well how 

1 Brantome, ' Dames Illustres.' 


important it is that no one should know what malady 
you have got ; for if your husband were to know of it 
he would never come near you.' 1 France had aban- 
doned almost every thing at the Peace of Cateau 
Cambresis in order to gain the support of Spain 
against religious reform, and Catharine now looked 
to her daughter to bring the same influence upon her 
side in any case. Everything depended upon this 
girl's being able to captivate her experienced husband 
and to lead him as she liked. Philip, it is true, was 
now in love with her ; but his policy was 

a fixed principle: it_jva never swayed by personal 
affection ; and Isabel was really as powerless to move 

him as all others who tried to do so. 

r ~Catharine had impressed particularly upon her 
daughter that she was to use every effort to draw the 
ties between France and Spain closer, by bringing about 
a marriage of her young sister Margaret 2 with DOJI 
Carlos : or, in any case, to oppose to the utmost his 
marriage with an Austrian cousin ; even if it were 
necessary to marry him to his aunt Joan. When 
Isabel entered Toledo she saw for the first time Philip's 
heir. He was within a few months of her own age, a 
lame, epileptic semi-imbecile ; already vicious ancf un- 
controllable. When he approached his stepmother for 
the first time he was yellow and wasted with inter- 
mittent fever, and it was noticed that she caressed and 
petted him more than he had been accustomed to ; for 
he had never known a mother. The passionate ill- 
conditioned boy had been told only a year ago to call 
this young beauty his wife, and now to see her the 

1 ' Negotiations sous Frangois n.' 

2 i.e. Margaret of Valois, La Reine M argot, who afterwards married 
Henry IV., the Bearnais on the evil day of St. Bartholomew, and was sub- 
sequently put aside by him. 


wife of the father, whom he feared and hated, turned 
his heart to gall. During her illness and convalescence 
he was ceaseless in his inquiries about her ; and when 
her health again allowed her to resume her family life, 
she went out of her way to entertain and please him. 
It was probably the only gentle feminine influence he 
had ever experienced, for his widowed aunt Joan, 
whom he alternately loathed and adored, was a gloomy 
religious mystic, almost old enough to be his mother ; 
and Isabel was not only just his own age, beautiful and 
French, but for the purposes of her mother exerted all 
her charms to gain his goodwill. 

The romantic story that makes her fall in love with 
this poor unwholesome boy may be put aside as base- 
less ; but it is probably true that her own charms, 
added to his jealousy and hate of his father, made him 
fall in love with her. The letters Isabel wrote to her 
mother at the time all speak of Philip as a most affec- 
tionate husband, and of Don Carlos simply with pity 
for his ill-health ; whilst Catharine's replies constantly 
urge her to iacline hen stepson to-a marriage with her 
sister Margaret ; ' or you will be the most unfortunate 
woman IrT~the world if your husband dies, and the 
Prince (Carlos) has for a wife any one but your own 
sister.' Unfortunately the youth was unable to hide 
his extraVagant affection for his young stepmother ; 
and soon all the French ladies were nodding and 
shrugging their shoulders at the romance that was 
passing before their eyes, which probably Isabel her- 
self hardly understood. 

The need for Catharine to draw personally nearer 
to Spain was greater, and yet more difficult, than ever 
after the_death, in November 1560, of her young son 
F rancis ii. J7here was no fear now jrfJFrance being 



drawn into war again for the benefit of Mary Stuart, 
but, on the other hand, Mary Stuart herself, being- a 
widow, might marry Don Carlos, and^ become, by 
Spanish aid and the efforts of the English Catholics, 
Queen of Great Britain, in which case France would 
be isolated indeed. 1 Cardinal Lorraine, and afterwards 
Mary herself, bade briskly for this match ; but, though 
Philip shrank from saying so, Carlos was, he knew, 
unfit for marriage altogether. In answer to Catharine's 
constant pressure upon her daughter to persuade Carlos 
to marry Margaret, Isabel repeatedly assured her that 
she would do her best, and she appears to have made 
a sort of alliance with his aunt Joan to forward her 
cause if the marriage with Margaret was found im- 

Philip's sister, the wife of Maximilian, heir to the 
empire, wrote to Isabel early in 1561, asking her to 
lend her help to the suit then being pressed by the 
imperial ambassador for the marriage of Carlos with 
one of his Austrian cousins, the Archduchess Anne, 2 
and Isabel, in giving an account of this to her mother, 
says that she showed the letter to Princess Joan, who 
had received a similar letter, and angrily expressed 
her opinion to Isabel that the plan was directed against 
her (Joan) ; with which opinion Isabel agreed. ' I 
spoke to the King about it,' wrote Isabel to her mother, 
' telling him that the Queen of Bohemia had made one 
exception (before her daughter's claim was put forward), 
whereas I made two ; namely, first my sister, and, 
secondly, the Princess (Joan). He replied that his 
son was yet so young, and in such a condition, that 

1 Particulars of these intrigues will be found in * The Love Affairs of 
Mary Queen of Scots ' by Martin Hume. 

2 She afterwards married Philip himself as his fourth wife. 


there was plenty of time for everything yet, though 
the Prince has got over his quartan fever.' 1 To the 
imperial ambassador Philip gently hinted also that his 
son's infirmity of mind and body made it impossible to 
arrange seriously for his marriage ; but Catharine was 
not to be put off easily, and Isabel did her best to 
obey her. 

The Queen mother, sending her own portrait and 
that of her son, the new boy King of France, Charles 
ix., to her daughter, included in the parcel a likeness 
of her daughter Margaret ; and one of Isabel's maids 
writes of the joy that the pictures of her dear ones 
gave to the Queen ; who, she says, after having recited 
her prayers at night in church, went to her chamber, 
and said them again before her mother's portrait. 
When the precious portraits were unwrapped Princess 
Joan was there to admire them, and soon Don Carlos 
came in. ' Which is the prettiest of them ? ' he was 
asked. ' The chiquital he naturally replied ; where- 
upon one of the ladies drove home the lesson by saying, 
' Yes, you are quite right, for she is the most fit for 
you'; whereupon he burst out laughing. 2 Isabel her- 
self wrote joyfully to her mother that Carlos was 
pleased with Margaret's portrait, and had repeated to 
her three or four times laughing that the ' little one 
was the prettiest ; if she was like that ; ' whereupon 
Isabel assured him that she was ' bien faite] and 
officious Madame de Clermont interjected that she 
would make a good wife for him, to which the lad, 
though he giggled, made no reply. Philip also, prob- 
ably to please his wife, confessed that the portrait of 
her younger sister was very beautiful : but it was 

1 Negotiations sous Francois n. 

2 Ibid. 


noticed that, simultaneously with these transparent 
matrimonial intrigues, he_suddenly began to pay osten- 
tatious attention to his sister Joan, whose marriage 
with her nephew Carlos was always a possibility to 
play off against other matches proposed. 

TTie kindliest relations were now established between 
Philip and his young wife, and though he was usually 
absorbed in governmental detail early and late, Isabel's 
life was not a gloomy one. The two boys of Maxi- 
milian, King of the Romans, the future emperor, and 
of Philip's sister Maria, were being brought up in the 
Spanish Court ; and though they were kept very close 
to their studies, they were allowed to come and see 
Isabel and her ladies every afternoon to dance and 
romp as they pleased. Carlos also took every oppor- 
tunity of being in the company of his stepmother, 
and the brilliant young Don Juan of Austria, Philip's 
half-brother, and Alexander Farnese, his nephew, were 
frequent visitors, all being lively handsome youths 
except, indeed, poor fever-wasted Carlos, fretting his 
weak wits to frenzy in unrequited love and impotent 

In the summer of 1561 hopes were entertained that 
the Queen might fulfil her husband's dearest wish and 
make him the father of another son, and the King's 
delight at the prospect was unbounded. He caused to 
be made a solid silver sedan chair in which to carry his 
wife to Madrid, and overwhelmed her with attentions. 
But to Isabel's grief the hope was fallacious, and 
Philip was tenderly solicitous to solace his wife's dis- 
appointment. ' II avait toute la peine du monde de 
la consoler, et lui tenir beaucoup plus privee et plus 
ordinaire compagnie que n'avait jamais fait, de maniere 
qu'il n'a 6t6 que bon que tous deux ayent eu cette 


opinion. II me fit 1'honneur de me prier que je 1'allasse 
consoler, et lui dire qu'elle lui volust donner ce con- 
tentement et plaisir de ne s'en fachier, et mesme quand 
on seroit a Madrid, que ma femme le lui allast aussi 
dire, et user de tous ses bons offices qu'elle scavoit 
bien faire en son endroit. Elle est aujourd'hui, 
Madame, en tel estat pres du roy son mari que Votre 
Majeste, et tous ceux qui aiment son bien et sommes 
affectionn6s a son service, en devront remercier 
Dieu.' 1 

In the midst of this happy and harmonious life in 
Sriain, the girl Queen tactfully did her best to obey 
her mother and serve the France she always held 
dear, but it was inevitable that as time went on and" 
.fEeT" influence of her_ husband over her grew, she 
should take a more purely Spanish view of affairs. _ 
The death of young Francis IL, and the fall of the^ 
GmisesTiad made the friendship between Spain and 
difficult than~~~ever, lor the profound 

religious divisions in the latter country forbade an 
possibility of the national power being used, as had 
been contemplated in the Peace of Cateau Cambresis 
in the suppression of heresy everywhere ; whilst 
Catharine's now ostentatious friendship with the 
Bourbons and the reforming party, by which she 
hoped to counterbalance the Guises, deeply offended 
her son-in-law. Philip, however, at this time was in 
the_ depth of penury: his own Netherlands were 
simmering into revolt^; he had suffered a terrible^ 
defeat at the hands of the Turk on the coast of Tunis 
(February 1560), and the Christian power in the 
Mediterranean was in the balance. Elizabeth of 

1 Letter from the French ambassador in Spain to Catharine de' Medici, 
quoted in 'Vie d'Elisabeth de Valois, 5 par le Marquis du Prat. 


England, too, was more obstinate than ever in her 
adherence to the anti-Catholic policy, now that the 
strength of the Huguenot party in France banished 
the fear of a Catholic coalition of France and Spain 
against her. Much as Philip frowned at, and Isabel 
remonstrated against, Catharine's proceedings, the 
King of Spain was not in a position to make war 
upon France, and for a time was obliged to dis- 
semble with his mother-in-law. So far, therefore, the 
Treaty of Cateau Cambresis had been a failure, and 
Isabel had been sacrificed in vain. France and Spain 
could not make common cause against Protestantism, 
and Isabel could not win Don Carlos for her sister 
nor make her astute husband the tool of her mothePs 
plans, deeply as he loved his charming young wifeT"" 

*With regard to the marriage of Carlos, Isabel was 
indefatigable in her efforts, but the prince grew more 
reckless than ever. In the spring of 1562 he was 
studying at the University of Alcala, when, in descend- 
ing a dark stairway to keep a secret assignation, he 
fell and fractured his skull. Philip and his wife were 
at Madrid when they received the news, and the King 
at once set out, travelling through the night full of 
anxiety for his son. He found him unconscious and 
partially paralysed : the doctors, ignorant beyond con- 
ception, treated him in a way that seems to us now 
nothing less than murderous. Purges, bleeding, 
unguents, charms, and, finally, the laying upon the 
bed of the unconscious lad the mouldering body of a 
monkish saint, Diego, were all tried in vain, until at 
last an Italian surgeon was bold enough to perform 
the operation of lifting the bone of the cranium that 
pressed upon the brain, and Don Carlos recovered 
his consciousness. But if he had been a semi- 


imbecile before, he became at intervals after this 
accident a raving^ homicidal maniac" The prince^ 
himself, and those who surrounded liim, attributed his 
recovery to the mummy of the dead monk, and 
promised to give for religious purposes in recognition 
of the miracle four times his own weight in gold. 
When he was weighed for the purpose it was found 
that, although he was seventeen years old, he only 
weighed seventy pounds. 

But, no matter how weak or vicious Carlos might 
be, the struggle to obtain his hand in marriage was 
waged as keenly as ever by Isabel and her mother 
on the one hand, and by the Austrian interest on _the 
other, with the Princess Joan, the lad's aunt, as a 
permanent candidate, to be used by Philip when he 
needed a diversion. Hardly had the grave anxiety 
about Carlos subsided when Isabel herself fell grievously 
ill, and was like to die. At the time that the physicians 
had abandoned hope of saving her (August 1562), 
Philip sent the Duke of Alba with a long message 
to the French ambassador, of which the latter wrote 
a copy to Catharine. He prefaces his letter by saying 
that the Queen was truly a bond of peace since she 
'possede le roi son mari, et est aujourd'hui en toute 
privaute et autorite avec lui.' The message was to 
the effect that it had always been the rule when 
Spanish queens were ill, even slightly, to urge them 
to make their last dispositions in good time. On 
account, however, of the great love and extreme 
affection which he (Philip) bore to his wife, he had 
not allowed her in her present serious illness to be 
spoken to on the subject, so as not to distress or 
alarm her. For, as he said, he had in very truth 
good reason to love her dearly, and to take great 


care of her; and if this loss should befall him, he 
would have reason to say that it was the greatest 
and most important he had ever suffered in his life, 
and that which most nearly touched his heart, seeing 
the shining virtues and noble qualities, with which his 
wife was endowed. He makes a great point of honour- 
ing and pleasing her, and preventing her from being 
troubled in any way ; but since the physicians said 
that she had reached such an extremity that her life 
could no longer be expected to last, x he would regret 
that his love for her, and his sorrow for her loss, 
should stand in the way of the duty she owed to 
her position and reputation to make a will.' He 
assured the French ambassador that his friendship 
for his wife's brother and mother would not be 
diminished by her death, and he proposed that she 
should leave two-thirds of her possessions to her 
mother, and the remainder be employed in pious uses 

1 Speaking of this illness Brantome says quaintly, ' Elle tomba malade 
en telle extre'mitd qu'elle fut abandonee des medecins. Sur quoy il y 
cut un certain petit medecin Italien qui pourtant n'avoit grande vogue a 
la cour, qui se presentant au roy, dit que, si on le vouloit laisser faire, 
il la gueriroit, ce que le roy permit : aussi estoit elle morte. II entreprend 
et luy donne une medecine, qu'apres 1'avoir prise on luy vit tout a coup 
monter miraculeusement la couleur au visage et reprendre son parler et 
puis apres sa convalescence. Et cependant toute la cour et tout le peuple 
d'Espagne rompaient les chemins de processions, d'alldes et venues qu'ils 
fasoient aux eglises et aux hospitaux pour sa Santd, les uns en chemise 
les autres nuds pieds, nues testes, offrans offrandes, prieres, oraisons et 
intercessions k Dieu par jeusnes, macerations de corps et autres telles 
sainctes et bonnes deVotions pour sa SanteV 

Brantome arrived in Spain soon after her recovery, and vividly describes 
the joy and gratitude of the people at her convalescence. He saw her, 
he says, go out in her carriage for the first time after her recovery to 
give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and asserts that she looked more 
lovely than ever as she sat at the door of the carriage for the people to 
see her. She was dressed in white satin covered with silver trimming, 
her face being uncovered. ' Mais je crois que jamais rien ne fut veu si 
beau que cette reine, comme je pris Phardiesse de luy dire.' (Dames 


and in rewarding her very numerous servants. 1 This 
letter is of great interest in showing how truly Philip 
loved and respected his young wife, and every testi- 
mony shows that their affection continued to increase 
as the time went on, though all around them, both in 
public and private life, was full of bitterness and 
anxiety. Don Carlos grew more and more outrageous 
in his disregard of all decency and respect ; and more 
than one miscarriage of Isabel seemed to threaten the 
King with the misfortune of a childless marriage. 

But what was a source of greater trouble perhaps 
than anything to Isabel at this period, was the terrible 
infliction that was scourging her own country. The 
first war of religion in France had ended with the 
death of Guise and Anthony of Navarre, and the 
hollow edict of Amboise had been issued by Catharine, 
giving toleration to the Huguenots in certain towns. 
This was a heavy blow to Philip and his cause, and he 
triecT to parry it in his characteristic fashion by the aid 
of the Guisan party. Jeanne d'Albret and her son 
(afterwards Henry iv.) had retired to mourn the death 
of Anthony in their castle of Pau. Henry was heir to 
the crown of France after Catharine's sons, and his 
mother was a strict Calvinist, so the Catholic, party 
planned, with Philip's aid, to kidnap Jeanne d'Albret,. 
Queen of Navarre, and her hopeful son, to prevent the__ 
daliger of a Huguenot ever being king of France. 
AITwas arranged for the coup de main when the 
principal conspirator, Captain Dimanche, fell ill in a 
poor hostelry in Madrid. Isabel had always been 
accustomed to keep herself well-informed of all cases 
ojrpuble amongst her own countrymen in Spain, and 

1 L'Aube'pine to Catharine. ' Bibliotheque Nationale,' printed in an 
appendix to Du Prat's ' Elizabeth de Valois.' 


hearing from her servants that a Frenchman was alone 
and suffering, had him brought from his squalid 
lodging to the house of one of her servants, to be well 
cared for by one of her own doctors. Dimanche, in 
the course of his illness, divulged his conspiracy to his 
host, who, though a Catholic, was shocked at the 
wickedness of the plan, and told it to a higher officer, 
ancT afterwards to Isabel, who, he knew, was deeply 
attached to Jeanne d'Albret. The Queen listened to 
the story with horror, and cried, with tears in her eyes, 
'God forbid that such a crime should be committed.' 
As fast as a confidential courier could gallop went the 
news from Isabel to her mother; how the Catholic 
party and Spain were plotting to ruin the house of 
Navarre, and overthrow the equilibrium in France ; 
and Jeanne d'Albret and her son, also warned by 
Isabel, escaped from Pau into central France. 

Philip probably never knew that it was his wife who 
had upset so promising a plan ; but that her inter- 
vention was not from any love of Protestantism is 
clearly seen by her subsequent action. Her Catholi- 
cism, indeed, was more Spanish than French in its 
character ; and that her politic mother should call to 
her councils at all those whose orthodoxy was doubtful, 
appeared to her nothing short of abominable, though 
for a short time after the first Huguenot war, 
Catharine had managed to bring about an appearance 
oT harmony between the two great French factions. 
But Conde, the chief of the Bourbons, after Anthony's 
death, was rough and imperious, and personally dis- 
liked by Catharine : Cardinal Lorraine returned to 
France from the Council of Trent early in 1564, 
thirsting to revenge the murder of his brother Guise, 
and soon Catholic intrigue was busy in the French Court. 


Isabel wrote to her mother an extraordinary letter 
at this time (the summer of 1564), evidently inspired 
by Philip, and forming a part of the Lorraine intrigues 
to win Catherine to the ultra-catholic party. *JjV_ 
wrote Isabel, ' you will cause Frenchmen to live _as 
good catholics, there is nothing you can ask of my 
husband that he will not give you. He begs you will 
not^compromise with the evil people, but punish them 
very severely. If you are afraid because of their great 
number . . . you may call upon us, and we will give 
you everything we possess, and troops as well, to 
support religion. If you do not punish these men 
yourself, you must not be offended if the King, my 
husband, listens to the demands of those who crave 
his help to defend the faith, and gives them what they 
ask. He is, indeed, obliged to do so, for it touches 
him more than any one. If France becomes Lutheran, 
Flanders and Spain will not be far behind.' 1 And so, 
for page after page of her long letter, J^sabel urges her 
mother to crush the Huguenots for once and for aTT. 
Catharine loved intrigue and crooked ways ; and, 
although it was no part of her plan to have only one 
party in France, she feared the Guises less now that 
the Duke was dead, and it doubtless seemed to her a 
good opportunity for drawing closer to Spain, in order 
to effect the marriage of her daughter Margaret with 
Don Carlos, and gain some advantage by marriage or 
otherwise for her darling son Henry (Duke of Orleans). 

The effect of Cardinal Lorraine's action was soon 
seen in the long progress through the east and south 
of France undertaken by Charles ix. and his mother. 
Catharine had been trying, ever since the death of 

1 Isabel to Catharine. Bibliotheque Nationale, No. 39, printed in the 
appendix of Du Prat's ' Elizabeth de Valois.' 


Francis IL, to arrange an interview with Philip, and 
bring her personal influence to bear upon him, though 
he had shown no eagerness to discuss the matter ; but 
now that the Court of France, with Lorraine pulling 
the wires, was to visit the south, there seemed a 
chance of effecting at last what the treaty of Cateau 
Cambresis had failed to do. The Court left Paris in 
the spring of 1564, and at Nancy, the scheme of 
Lorraine for a Catholic league to suppress heresy was 
first broached to Charles ix. He was a mere lad, and 
was apparently alarmed at the idea ; but in the mean- 
while, active negotiations were going on to induce 
Philip and his wife to meet Catharine when she 
approached the frontier with her son. The French 
ambassador in Spain was a strong Guisan partisan, 
and worked hard to bring about the interview, as did 
Isabel herself, who was sincerely attached to her kins- 
folk, and yearned to embrace her mother again. 
Philip was._.anxjous to forward the formation of a 
Catholic League, but he distrusted Catharine, and 
after much negotiation, he consented to Isabel's going 
asHTar as Bayonne to greet her mother ; the political 
negotiation, however, being entirely left to the Duke 
of Alba. 

Philip was not enthusiastic, for he knew that 
Catharine was surrounded by 'politicians,' and he was 
determined that if nothing came of the interview, it 
should not be said that he had been deceived. He 
would not, he said, go to any expense on the occasion, 
and no gold or silver was to be worn on the dresses on 
either side : and the Queen was to be kept to the most 
rigid etiquette in her communications with her mother 
and brother. She left Madrid with a great train of 
courtiers in April 1565, bearing with her powers from 


her husband to ratify the arrangements that Alba 
might make. What these arrangements were may be 
seen by the memorandum given by Philip to Alba for 
his guidance. 1 The object aimed at was a league, in.. 
which each party"~should be pledged to employ all his_ 
force and means to sustain Catholic orthodoxy^J:o allow 
no toleration whatever to any other religion, in public_ 
of private, and to expel all persons but catholics from 
theTealms, within five months, on pain of death, and" 
forfeiture for them and their abettors, to publish and 
enforce the decisions of the Council of Trent, to purge 
all the offices, commands, and services, of every sus- 
picion of heresy, and to deprive of their dignities, titles, 
and authority, every person not firmly attached to the 

Wkh this fateful mission Isabel travelled slowly 
towards the north^ through Burgos, in the spring of 
1565. She had in her train more than sixty Spanish 
nobles with their gaudily garbed followers ; and, though 
Philip's orders with regard to bullion ornaments had 
been obeyed, there was no lack of costly show. On 
the 1 4th May, in a heat so suffocating that many of the 
soldiers died, Catharine and her son with the French 
Court rode at early morning out of Saint Jean de Luz, 
to reach the little river Bidasoa which divides France 
from Spain. For two hours the royal party rested 
under a green arbour on the banks, whilst the Spanish 
baggage was being ferried across ; and just as the 
burning sun was beginning to decline, a burst of 
trumpets heralded the approach of the Queen of Spain. 
From the ancient castle of I run the royal procession 
could be seen winding down the hill to the shore, Isabel 

1 Archives Nationales, Paris C. K., 1393, quoted in the Introduction of 
the Spanish Calendar of Elizabeth, edited by Martin Hume. 


being borne in a litter. Catharine at once entered her 
waiting boat, and swift oars brought her to the Spanish 
side just as her daughter's litter reached the edge. 
Both Queens were beside themselves with joy. Isabel 
bent low enough to kiss her mother's knee, but was 
raised and tenderly embraced, again and again, and then, 
overcome by their emotions, both Catharine and Isabel 
burst into tears of joyful excitement, which continued 
unabated until the boat had landed them on the French 
bank, where Charles ix. awaited them amidst saluting 
volleys of musketry. l 

The pompous rejoicings, the tourneys, comedies, 
balls, and banquets, which followed at St. Jean de Luz 
and Bayonne ; the splendour with which each Court 
tried to dazzle the other, and the grave political con- 
ferences between Alba and the French ministers and 
Catharine, cannot be dwelt upon here ; but the picture 
drawn of Isabel herself in the midst of this memorable 
interview by Brantome, who was present, is too in- 
teresting to omit. 'When she entered Bayonne she 
rode upon a pony very superbly and richly harnessed 
with a cloth completely covered with pearls em- 
broidered, which had belonged to the Empress, and 
was used by her when she entered towns in state ; it 
was said to be worth one hundred thousand crowns 
and more. She was quite bewitching on horseback, 
and was worth gazing upon ; for she was so lovely 
and sweet that every one was enchanted. We were 
all ordered to go and meet her and accompany her on 
her entrance . . . and she was most gracious to us 
when we paid our respects to her, and thanked us 
charmingly. To me, especially, she was kind and 

1 Bibliotheque Nationale, Colbert, vol. 140. ' Bref discours de Parrive'e 
de la Reine d'Espagne a St. Jehan de Luz.' 


cordial ; for I had only taken leave of her in Spain 
four months before, and I was greatly touched that 
she should thus favour me over my fellows. . . . She 
was also familiar to the ladies and maids at the Court, 
exactly the same as before her marriage, and took 
notice of those who were absent or had got married ; 
and about those who had come to Court since she left 
she made many inquiries.' 

In the discussions with the political ministers it was 
soon evident to Catharine, as she had probably foreseen 
from the first, that to throw herself entirely into the 
hands of the extreme Catholic party as Philip desired, 
would be disastrous to her, and probably also to her 
son's throne. But it did not suit her to quarrel with 
he_r powerful son-in-law, or to send her daughter back_ 
empty-handed to Madrid, after the much heralded 
Trfterview ; so, although an arrangement was signed 
which ostensibly Bound France and Spain together for 
a religious end^ Catharine took care to leave a sufficient^ 
number of knotty points open to give her a loophole to 
escape. When she returned to Paris she soon began 
to raise difficulties about the ratification, and wrote to 
her ambassador in Madrid (Fourquevault), ' Je lui dis 
que en faisant ces manages, et donnant quelque etat 
a mon fils d'Orleans, qu'il nous falloit tous joindre 
ensemble : c'est a savoir le Pape, 1'Empereur, et ces 
deux rois, les Allemands et autres que Ton avisera : et 
que le roi mon fils n'etait pas sans moyens pour aider 
de sa part, a ce qui serait avise quand les dits manages 
seroient faits, et la dite ligue concliie.' It will be seen 
that she makes here so many conditions as to render 
the league quite impossible. Not only is her daughter 
Margaret to marry Carlos, and her son Henry a 
daughter of the Emperor with an independent State, 


but all the other Catholic powers are to join the league 
before France is to be bound to anything^ 

Indeed, it is clear that the power of the Huguenot 
and 'politician' nobles in France, and the old jealousy 
between France and Spain, together with the persecu- 
tion by the Inquisition of French residents and visitors 
in Spain, and the massacre in the following year of the 
French expedition to Florida by Philip's orders, made 
a sincere co-operation between the two countries in such 
a league impracticable ; l and though appearances were 
saved at Bayonne, Philip, when he joyfully met his wife 
after her nineteen days' absence from him, must have 
known that again his dream of a Catholic leagiieJia4 
failed. 'Je ne fis qu'arriver hier (writes the French 
ambassador to Catharine on Isabel's return) de baiser 
la main de la reine, la quelle jai trouvee si joieuse et 
contente de la bonne venue du roy son mari, et de la de- 
monstration de la bonne affection et amitie qu'il lui fait.' 
Though the personal affection between jjie husband 
and wife was without a cloudrtrwascertain that the 
political results of the marriage were insignificant. 
Isabel fought hard for some satisfaction to the outrage 
to France in Florida, but without result ; Coligny, to 
her and Philip's indignation, was growing powerful in 
the French government ; and the second war of religion 
was seen to be inevitable, whilst the issue was already 
jdnTed" between Philip and his Dutch subjects ; pledged, 
as they were, to stand together to resist him to the 

1 It is usually assumed (and amongst others by Father Florez in * Reinas 
Catolicas') that the massacre of St. Bartholomew seven years later (1572) 
in Paris was arranged at this meeting. There is, however, no proof that 
such was the case. Philip and the Spanish party, it is true, were loud in 
their praises of this enormity, but much happened between Bayonne and 


In the midst of these public causes for anxiety Philip 
was overjoyed to learn that his wife, whose age was 
nearly twenty-one, was likely to become a mother. 1 
The King, as usual, arranged every small detail him- 
self of, ' le regime dont elle devoit user pour conduire 
son fruit & bon port ' ; and his demonstrations of affec- 
tion and pride for his wife, and rejoicing at his hopes 
for a time, even in public, overcame his natural frigid 
dignity. Nor was Catharine less delighted, for to her, 
should the child prove a son, the event was of the 
highest importance, in view of the growing incapacity 
of Don Carlos ; and she also sent by M. de Saint 
Etienne a parcel to her daughter : ' Ou il y a tout 
plein de recettes, dont elle peut avoir de besoin ' ; and 
she wrote personally to the physician in attendance, 
urging him to make use of these recipes, which she 
assured him would do Isabel good. 

Every day the smallest incident of the Queen's 
condition were recounted by courier to her mother ; and 
Philip could hardly tear himself from her side whilst 
he disposed of his usually beloved business. At length, 
on the ist August 1566. a daughter was born, at 
Balsain, near Segovia, to "Philip and Isabel The 
child was christened Isabej^ after the great Queen and 
heF mother, Clara because she was born on the day of 
the Saint, and Eugenie, out of gratitude to the 
efficacious body of St. Eugene and the sumptuous 
ceremony of baptism was not allowed to pass without a 
jealous wrangle between the Archbishop of Santiago 
and the Bishop of Segovia, as to which should have 
the honour of performing the rite, which was eventually 

1 Isabel herself ascribed the blessing to her prayers to the body of St. 
Eugene, which she had with great difficulty persuaded the French to 
surrenderto Spain. It was carried with great pomp from St. Denis to 
Toledo, and Isabel was constant in her adoration of it. 



celebrated by the Nuncio Castaneo, afterwards Pope 
Urban vn. It would doubtless have been more 
satisfactory to Philip had a son been born ; but his joy 
and gratitude were nevertheless intense, and the 
French ambassador, writing to Catharine a few days 
afterwards, says that when he went to congratulate 
him, he had him (the ambassador) led to the Queen's 
room: 'Voulant que je visse la fille qu'il avoit plu 
Dieu lui donner, de laquelle il est tant aise qu'il ne 
peut le dissimuler, et 1'aime, a ce qu'il dit, pour le 
present mieux qu'un fils/ This deep affection for his 
elder daughter lasted to the King's dying day; and 
the famous Infanta, designated by him to be in suc- 
cession Queen of England and France, became by 
his will sovereign of the Netherlands, and inherited 
from her father not only the ancient domains of his 
paternal house but his views, his methods, and his 

The Queen lay apparently at the point of death for 
some days after her delivery, but as soon as her life 
was safe, the great project, so long discussed, of a 
voyage of the royal family to insurgent Flanders, was 
again taken in hand. Philip was for going alone, 
leaving, it was hoped by Catharine, his wife Regent, 
though Isabel herself begged hard that she might be 
allowed to accompany her husband : ' Car vraiment, 
je serois trop marrie de demeurer par de^a apres lui ; 
je ferai ce qui sera en moi qu'il ne m'y laisse point.' 
There was another who desired as ardently as she to 
go to Flanders with the King. This was his only son 
Don Carlos. The young man's frantic excesses had 
grown more scandalous than ever as he became older. 
The struggle to obtain his hand in marriage was still 
going on between the Austrian and French interests ; 


but Philip continued to put the matter gently aside on 
the ground of his son's ill-health. 

The afflicted father had done his best to wean the 
Prince from his violence and dissoluteness. He him- 
self had been a dutiful son, ready to sacrifice every- 
thing for the task confided to him, and his grief was 
profound that this son of his youth should openly 
scandalise his court by his disobedience and insolence 
to his father and sovereign. Like his great-grand- 
mother, Joan the Mad, the Prince lived in constant 
revolt against authority, sacred and mundane. His 
conduct in the Council of State, where his father had 
placed him to accustom him to business, had shocked 
every one. Apparently out of sheer wrong-headedness 
he had openly expressed his sympathy with the 
Netherlanders, who were defying the will of his father, 
and he had extorted a semi-promise that he should 
accompany the King to Flanders. Whether the 
Prince had entered into any communication with the 
agents of the Flemings is doubtful ; but even if such 
were the case, and the ambition of Carlos to obtain an 
early regency of Flanders was the end he had in view, 
it is a mere travesty of history to represent that he 
seriously held reformed opinions, any more than did 
Joan the Mad, when she reviled the mass and the 
sacred symbols. 

In any case, Philip abandoned his intention, if he 
ever really held it, of going in person to the Low 
Countries ; and decicled to send the ruthless Alba with 
cTgreat army to scourge the stubborn ' beggars ' into 
humble suBmtssion^to Jiis-wilL When Carlos heard 
trill, and that he, too, was to remain in Spain, his fury 
passed all bounds. He attempted to stab Alba him- 
self when he went to take leave ; and when the Cortes 


of Castile petitioned the King that the heir to the 
throne should be kept in Spain, Carlos made an open 
scandal, andj:hreatened the dgutie_with death. 
"~ ByTrTisTmieTthe autumn of 1567, Isabel was again 
pregnant, and Philip's hopes ran high that another son 
would be born to him. It is clear that the great 
mission to which he and his father had devoted 
strenuous lives could not safely be passed on to Carlos ; 
and in September, Ruy Gomez, Philip's only friend, 
told the French ambassador that if the Queen gave 
birth to a son, the future of Carlos as heir would have 
to be reconsidered. The Prince was insatiable for 
money, which he scattered broadcast on evil doings, 
he was openly insolent to his father, and the latter 
suspected a design to escape clandestinely to join the 
enemies of his State : and there is no doubt that if 
Isabel's second child had been a son, he would have 
been placed in the succession before Don Carlos. 
Philip exceeded himself in tender solicitude for his 
wife, but at last, on the i;th October 1567, the child 
that all Europe was breathlessly expecting, was born 
another daughter. 

TKereafter the romance of Don Carlos unfolded 
rapidly. Philip had been patient and longsuffering 
under the affliction of such a son, but he at length 
despaired, and his attachment to his heir gave place 
to antipathy and disgust : especially when his 
physicians had definitely assured him that his line 
c5uld neverH5e^ci3nTiiaiied by Carlos. 1 The Prince, on 
the other hand, hated his father bitterly, and was 
morose with his aunt Joan, whom he formerly loved, 
and with the young Austrian Princes, though he had 

1 French ambassador Fourquevault to Catharine, June 1567. Biblio- 
theque Nationale, No. 220 (Du Prat). 


now been formally betrothed to their sister Anna. 
The only person who influenced him was Isabel : ' II 
fait semblant de trouver bon tout ce que la reyne votre 
fille fait et dit, et n'y a personne qui dispose de lui 
comme elle, et c'est sans artifice ni feinte, car il ne 
sait feindre ni dissimuler.' 1 

Matters came to a head at the end of the year 1567. 
Philip and Isabel had gone to pass Christmas at the 
newly commenced Palace of the Escorial, when Carlos 
decided to make his long contemplated attempt to 
escape from Spain. On the 23rd December, he 
whispered to his young uncle, Don Juan of Austria, 
that he needed his help to get horses ; and Juan, 
recognising the seriousness of the situation, at once 
rode the thirty odd miles to the Escorial to tell the 
King. As in all his great calamities, Philip remained 
outwardly unmoved, and though he took such 
measures secretly as would frustrate the flight, he did 
not return to Madrid until the day previously fixed, the 
1 7th January 1 568. The next day he went with Carlos 
to mass ; but still made no sign. In the interim, the 
Prince had even attempted to kill Don Juan; and it 
was time for his father to strike, in order to prevent 
some greater tragedy, for Carlos had admitted to his 
confessor that he had an ungovernable impulse to kill 
a rnan. Whom ^ asked the confessor. The King, 
was the reply! For once Fhilip broke down utterly 
when, with Ruy Gomez and other intimate councillors, 
he deliberated what should be done. Late that night, 
when the Prince slept, the afflicted father, with five 
armed gentlemen and twelve guards, obtained entrance 
into the chamber, in spite of secret bolts and locks ; 
and when the Prince, disturbed, sprang up and sought 

1 Ibid., No. 8. 


for his weapons, the weapons were gone. In rage and 
despair, he tried to strangle himself, but was restrained ; 
and, recognising that he was a helpless prisoner, he 
flung himself upon his bed in an agony of grief, and 
sobbed out, ' I am not mad, not mad, only desperate.' 

From that hour he was dead to the world, which 
saw him no more. The position was a humiliating one 
for Philip, but he made the best of it, by explaining to 
all the courts that the prince's mental deficiency neces- 
sitated his seclusion. To his own nearest relatives he 
did not hide his bitterness. ' It is not a punishment,' 
he wrote, ' would to God it were, for it might come to 
an end : but I never can hope to see my son restored 
to his right mind again. I have chosen in this matter 
to sacrifice to God my own flesh and blood, preferring 
His service and the universal good to all human 
considerations.' Some sort of trial or examination of 
the prince was held, but all professed accounts of the 
proceedings must be accepted with caution. Certain it 
is that they dragged on wearily, whilst the charges of 
treason, of conspiracy, of disloyalty, and perhaps of 
heresy, were laboriously examined in strict secresy. 
Neither Isabel nor his aunt Joan was allowed to see 
Carlos, and Don Juan was forbidden even to wear 
mourning for the calamity. By all accounts the prince's 
malady grew rapidly worse, as well it might in such 
circumstances. Like Joan the Mad before him, he 
would starve for days, and then swallow inedible things, 
he would alternately roast and freeze himself, and he 
attempted suicide more than once. The end came 
on the 25th July 1568, and the immense weight of 
testimony is in favour of his having died in consequ 
of his own mad fancies in diet and hygiene. 

When Fourquevault conveyed the news of Carlos's 


death to Catharine, he wrote that the Queen Isabel 
was suffering from fainting fits and headache ; but it 
was her wish that great signs of mourning should be 
made for the Prince in France, to show the King ot 
Spain that they (i.e., the French) were sorry for his loss ; 
1 as the Spanish people attach so much importance to 
appearances.' Isabel in weak health, for she was again 
pregnant, was deeply touched by the trouble around 
her. The French ambassador was gleefully reminding 
her mother that the death of Don Carlos was a very 
good thing for her, and praising her beauty, which the 
deep Spanish mourning set off to advantage, whilst he 
indulged in brilliant hopes for the birth of a son to 
Isabel. But the young Queen's heart was heavy, not 
for Carlos alone, but for the scenes of horror which 
were flooding Flan3ers with bloocTurider the flail of 
AlbaT Egmont and Horn had been treacherously 
sacrificed in Brussels, Montigny in Spain, and her own 
dear France was reft in twain by fratricidal war. She 
waslTcatriolic as sincere as Philip himself, but that the 
faith should need wholesale murder for its assertion 
shocked andfrightenedjiex.; and she languished in the 
atmosphere 6T gloomy determination which surrounded 

Catharine wrote often in reply to the depressing 
news from her daughter, arousing her hopes for a son 
who should, in his time, put all things right ; but Isabel 
at twenty-three had lost her gay elasticity, and the 
advance of her pregnancy meant the advance of her 
exhausting malady. Philip, as usual, was tenderly 
solicitous for her ease and happiness ; full of hope, too, 
that a son at last was to be born to him, for upon this 
everything depended. The lying stories which long 
afterwards the traitor Antonio Perez wove with hellish 


skill in the safe refuge of Essex House, accusing Philip 
of jealousy of his wife with Don Carlos, and subse- 
quently with one Pozzo, are hardly worth more credit 
now than the sentimental romance of the Abbe de St. 
Real about her love for Carlos. Perez, whose only 
wish was to blacken Philip indelibly to please his 
enemies, and his own paymasters in England and 
France, hints that Philip himself connived at his be- 
loved wife's murder by poison : but even if the confi- 
dential letters of her French friends now before us did 
not disprove this, the fact that nothing could be so 
unfortunate for Philip's policy as Isabel's death would 
give it the lie. 

Isabel had been suffering for months from heart 
failure and bodily irregularities ; and on the 3rd 
October 1568, the violent remedies administered to 
her by her doctors caused a miscarriage. The poo_r 
Queen knew that she was doomed, for when before 
daybreak Pmlip, heartbroken, came and sat by her bed, 
she calmly took a last farewell of him, praying him t_Q_ 
be good to their two little girls, to be friendly with 
Catharine and King Charles ix., and kind to the 
attendant ladies who had served her so well : ' with 
other words worthy of admiration, and fit to break the 
heart of a good husband, such as the King was. He 
answered her in the same way ; for he could not be- 
lieve that she was so near her end, and promised all 
she asked him ; after which he retired to his room in 
great anguish, as I am told.' 1 The dying woman had 
confessed and received extreme unction during the 
night ; and early in the morning the French ambassa- 
dors were summoned to her chamber. ' She knew us 
at once, and said, Ah ! ambassador, you see me well on 

1 Fourquevault to Catharine, 3rd October 1568. Du Prat. 


the road out of this unhappy world into a better one 
. . . pray my mother and brother to bear my loss 
patiently, and to be satisfied with what pleases me 
more than any prosperity I have enjoyed in this world, 
to go to my Creator, where I may serve him better than 
I can here. I shall pray Him that all my brothers and 
sisters may live long and happily, as well as my mother 
and brother Charles : and I beg you to beseech them 
to look to their realm, and prevent heresy taking root. 
Let them all take my death patiently, for I am very 
happy.' 'O!' replied the principal ambassador, 'your 
Majesty will live a long time yet, to see France good 
and happy.' 'No, no, ambassador,' she whispered, 
shaking her head with a faint smile. ' I do hope it will 
be so, but I do not wish to see it. I would much 
rather go and see what I hope very soon to see.' 

Aftep^much more tender talk of her own land and 
people, the jlying Cjueen took farewell of her countFy- 
meTTancT^rayed awhile with her ghostly~c^mforters : 
tKen fell into slumber for a short ten minutes. At 
midday, 'she suddenly opened her eyes, bright and 
sparkling, and it seemed to me as if she wished to tell 
me something more, for they looked straight at me : l 
and then Isabel of the Peace passed quietly into the 
world her gentle soul longed for. * We left the palace 
all in tears, for throughout the people of this city 
there is not one, great or small, that doth not weep ; 
for they all mourn in her the best Queen they have 
ever had.' Philip in grief hid himself from the worI3 
iiTthe monastery of Saint Jerome ; Jput his task in the 
world was greater to hircuevpn than his sorrow or his 
love. The hopes of the French alliance to extirpate 
heresy had failed, failed utterly and completely. Eng- 

^orquevault to Catharine, 3rd October 1568. Du Prat. 


land, helping the insurgent Flemings with all her might, 
had drifted further, and ever further, away from him. 
In France the reformation was growing, and only two 
lives and bad ones stood ^between the throne aricTa 
Huguenot King. There was no male heir to inherit 
the thorny inheritance of championing orthodox Christ- 
ianity throughout the world. Whither could Philip 
turn for sympathy and a mother for the heir he yearned" 
for ? Not to England ; not to France, for both had 
failed him. Where but toHhls own kin in Austria ; 
to his niece AnnaTlhe betrothed of his dead son Carlos : 
and on the second anniversary of Isabel's death Anna" 
of^Austria landed in Spain to marry her uncle Philip. 
Isabel of the Peace politically had lived in vain. 




THE niece vnk__of Philip n^JaoreJiim many children. 

o_whom one weakling alone survived to inherit the 
oppressive crown of his father. Anna was a homely, 
devout soul, submissive and obedient to her husband/ 
ever busy with her needle and her household cares ; 
and, like the other members of her house, overpowered 
with the vastness and majesty of the mission confided 
by^ heaven to its chief. * On the voyage to Portugal 
in 1580 Philip fell ill at Badajoz, and when his life 
was despaired of Anna fervently prayed that he might 
be saved, even if she had to be sacrificed instead. 
Her prayer was heard ; and as the husband of fifty- 
three recovered the wife of thirty sickened and died, 
leaving Philip broken and lonely to live the rest of 
his weary life for his work alone. The struggle to 
prevent the victory of reform in France, which occu- 
pied Philip's later years, and consummated the ruin 
of his country, rendered impossible a renewal of the 
idea of a French and Spanish coalition, except, indeed, 

1 Father Florez tells of her that on one occasion she was brought to 
death's door by her loathing her food ; and as all mundane remedies had 
been tried in vain, the King sent for the blessed friar Orozco. The friar 
told the Queen he had a remedy recommended by his grandmother 
which would cure her if she would take it. The Queen consented, and 
the friar cooked a partridge and bacon before her, reciting verses of the 
Magnificat at each turn of the spit. When the dish was ready he took 
it to the Queen and said, ' Eat, my lady, in the name of God, for the mere 
smell of this would make a dead man hungry.' Needless to say, Anna 
ate and was cured. 



by the conquest of France by Philip, which many years 
of fruitless war proved to be impossible, whilst the 
gallant cynic, Henry of Navarre, could hold up the 
national banner of France as a rally point against 
the foreign invader. 

Once Philip, in sheer despair, turned, when it was 
too late, to England again in the hope of bringing it 
into his system by force, if intrigue and subornation 
oPconspiracy and murder failed : but with the defeat 
of the Armada that hope fljed too ; and again thej 
was no possible bride but an Austrian cousin for 
Philip's heir, Philip in., and no feasible policy from 
Plnlip's point of viewHbut a continuance of the close 
family alliance with the German Habsburg descen- 
dants of Joan the Mad. The Emperor, it is true, 
was forced to tolerate his Lutheran princes ; but he 
and his house made common cause with the Philips 
when the French cast greedy eyes towards Catholic 
'landers or Italy. Margaret of Ajjstnajbrought to 
sickly, scrofulous Philip in. an anaemic body and a 
stunted mind to rear his children. She implored her 
mother passionately to save her from the terrifying 
honour of sharing the gloomy throne of her cousin, 
for in her Styrian home she lived the life of a nun, 
devoted only to the humble care of the poor and 
sick of her own land : but she was sternly told that 
all must be sacrificed to the supreme duty that was 
hers ; and thenceforward she, too, lived in the awe- 
stricken atmosphere of religious abnegation, which 
waT the mark oflier Spanish kindred. 1 In besotted, 
conventual devotion, and frivolous trifling in turns, 
her monkish husband and she passed their lives ; 

1 She was much beloved, especially in Madrid, and died in childbed 
at the Escorial in 1611. 


then: children, of whom they had several, all blood- 
less decadents of low vitality, with big mumbling 
jaVs and lack-lustre eyes, brought up in the same 
pathetic tradition that to them and Spain ^goor, 
ruined, desolated Spain now was confided the sacred 
duty and honour of upholding religious orthodoxy 
throughout the world at any cost or sacrifice. 

"So long as Henry iv. was King of France, even 
though he had 'gone to mass,' the close union with 
Spain was impossible : but on the fateful day in May 
1610 when, in the narrow Paris lane, the dagger of 
Ravaillac pierced the heart of the great ' Bearnais,' 
all was changed. The Queen- Regent of France was 
one of the Papal Medici, imbued, as they all were, 
with the tradition of Spain's orthodoxy and over- 
whelming might. Her marriage with Henry had 
been a victory for the extreme Catholic party in 
Europe ; but so long as Henry lived he had pre- 
vented violent reaction. Now that he was gone, with 
hTr Huguenot traditions, France and Spain, it^ was 
thought, might again be joined in a Catholic league^ 
ancT together impose their form of faith upon the 
world, either by armed force or political pressure. It 
was a foolish, impracticable plan, for Frenchmen were 
tocTfar advanced now to be used to play the game 
orimpotent bankrupt Spain, powerful only in its pride 
and its traditions. 

"But James i. of England had been toadying and 
humiliating himself to gain Philip's aid in favour of 
his son-in-law, the Palatine in Germany, and it doubt- 
less seemed a good stroke of policy on the part of 
France and Spain to leave him and the Lutherans 
isolated. In any case no time was lost, and before 
Henry iv. had lain in his tomb at St. Denis a year 


it was agreed that the Spanish Infanta, Anna, should 
marry Louis xni. of^France, and that__Igabel, or 
Elizabeth;" the eldest daughter of Henry iv.^ and 
Marie de Medici, should become the wife of Philip, 
Prince of Asturias, the son and heir of the Spaliish 
^ All the betrothed were children of tender age^ 
was agreed that the exchange of brides should 
be deferred until the Infanta was twelve years old 
(1613). Pompous and lavish embassies went through 
the solemn farce of paying honour to the girl-children 
respectively as Queen of France and Princess of 
Asturias. The Duke of Mayenne, of the house of 
Guise, ruffled and swaggered in Madrid with a 
marriage embassy so splendid in 1612, that the cost 
of entertaining him beggared the capital for years ; 
and so keen was the emulation in sumptuousness of 
dress and adornments during the interminable festivi- 
ties in Madrid to celebrate the double betrothals, that 
the Spanish nobles came to dagger-thrusts on the 
subject in the palace itself. 

In Paris Ruy Gomez's son, the Duke of Pastrana, 
paid similar court to the dark-haired girl of nine who 
was betrothed to young Philip, heir of Spain, two 
years younger. Three years more had to pass, not- 
withstanding the impatience of the French, before the 
backward little Infanta Anna, in October 1615, was 
conveyed with a pomp and extravagance that ill 
matched the penury of her father's realm, to the 
frontier of France, there to be exchanged for I sabel 
of" Sourbon,_Jier_ bro^heys^J^ride^ 1 On the 9th 
November 1615 all the chivalry of France and Spain 

1 An interminable account of the splendours of the occasion, for which 
the favourite Duke of Lerma was mainly responsible, will be found in 
' Documentos Ineditos,' Ixi. 


were once more assembled on either bank of the 
little stream of Bidasoa that separated the two 
countries. Wasteful luxury and vain magnificence 
had been squandered wantonly by the Spanish nobles, 
determined, as usual, to put the French to shame. 
At Behovia, the point where the ceremony was to 
take place, sumptuous banqueting - halls had been 
erected upon rafts moored on each side of the stream, 
whilst in mid-current another raft supported a splendid 
pavilion covered with velvet and cloth of gold, and 
carpeted with priceless silken carpets from the East. 
Here the Duke of Guise delivered Isabel of France 
to the Duke of Uceda, in exchange for Anna of 
Austria, thenceforward Queen of France. The 
romantic and turbulent career of the latter is related 
elsewhere : here we have to follow the fortunes of 
the beautiful dark-haired girl of twelve who, like 
Isabel of the Peace fifty-four years before, turned her 
back upon her native land to cement the Catholic 
alliance between France and Spain. 1 

The circumstances were widely different, for the 
battle of religious liberty in Europe was practically 
won, though the blind faith and vanity of Philip in. 
refused, even now, to recognise the fact x or hisown 
pDVeTty - stricken impotence. The Medjci Queen- 
Regent of France, moreover, was a very different 
person from her kinswoman Catharine. She was not 
playing her own game so much as that of the cunning 
Italians who directed her, and it was soon evident, 
under Richelieu, that Frenchmen were no longer to 
be made the playthings of foreign ambitions. Isabel, 

1 To show how uncertain were still the relations between the people 
of the two countries, it may be mentioned that an eyewitness of the 
ceremonies of the exchange, etc., mentions as a marvellous thing that 
there was no fighting between Spaniards and Frenchmen. 



child as she was, had a stout heart and a high spirit, 
as befitted her father's daughter. She was willing 
enough to be a queen upon the most pretentious 
throne in Europe ; but she was not made for martyr- 
dom, and, as we shall see, her_jnarriage was even 
less influential in securing lasting peace and co-opera- 
tion between France and Spain than that of the 
previous Isabel had been. 

Through FuenterraKa, San Sebastian and Vitoria, 
Isabel travelled towards Burgos, where she was to 
meet her boy bridegroom. Dressed in Spanish garb 
from Vitoria onward, she won all hearts by her gaiety 
and brightness ; and, as an eyewitness says of her, 
1 even if she had French blood in her veins she had 
a Spanish spirit.' Philip in. and his son met the 
bride a league from Burgos, and we are told that 
the prince of eleven years old was so dazzled with 
her beauty that he could only gaze speechless upon 
her. The next day Burgos was all alive with the 
splendour of the welcome of the future Queen, who 
entered the city on a white palfrey with a silver 
saddle and housings of velvet and pearls ; and so, 
from city to city, smiling and happy, the girl, in the 
midst of the inflated Court, slowly made her way to 
Madrid. On the afternoon of iQth December 1615 
Isabel rode from the monastery of St. Jerome 1 through 
Madrid to the palace upon the cliff overlooking the 
valley of the Manzanares. An eyewitness describes 
her appearance as she rode through the mile of 
crowded narrow streets of old Madrid, under triumphal 
arches, past thousands of peopled balconies, hung 

1 The only portion of this building now standing is the ancient Gothic 
church where King Alfonso and Queen Victoria Euge'nie were recently 
married. It stands close to the famous picture gallery in the Prado. 


with tapestries, with songs and music of welcome 
all the way. * Her Highness was dressed in the 
French fashion, with an entire robe of crimson 
satin embroidered with bugles, a little cap trimmed 
with diamonds, and a ruff beautifully trimmed in 
French style, and with a rosette and girdle of 
diamonds of great size. She went her way, bright 
and buxom, full of rejoicing. Her aquiline face was 
wreathed in smiles, and her fine eyes flashed from 
side to side, looking at everything, to the great 
delight of the populace.' 1 

It was five years after_this, on the 25th November 
1620, at the palace of Pardo, that young Philip and 
Isabel began their married life together? Thilip was 
yet barely sixteen wJien (in March 1621) the low 
vitality of his father flickered_out, and the monarch, 
who should have been a monk, passed, in alternate 
paroxysms of fear and ecstacies of hope, from the 
world in which he had meant so well and done so ill. 
Thecorruption and waste under Lerma and his crew 
of ^parasites had bled^Sjpain ^o the^ white, and utter 
ruin was now the lot of whole populations. The 
tradition of the King's wealth which still lingered 
could hardly be kept up now, though at the fall of 
Lerma some of the worst robbers had been made to 
disgorge their booty. The King had been beloved 
and revered for his saintliness, but all saw the desola- 
tion that his idle dependence upon favourites had 
caused. Spain now looked only to the sallow, long- 
faced boy, Thilip iv., with the light blue eyes and lank 
<ffaxeh hair, to save the people from starvation. Not 
t<rh~im, but to the man at his side, it soon learned to 
loo~k. He was a big-boned powerful man of thirty - 

1 From an unpublished MS. in the British Museum. Add. 10,236. 


three, with a great square head, heavy stooping 
shoulders, fierce black eyes, burning like live coals 
in an olive face ; and his upturned twisted moustache 
added to the haughty imperiousness of his mien. 
This was the man, Caspar de Guzman, Count of 
Qlivares, Duke of St. Lucar, who made a clean_sweep 
of all the corrupt gang that had fattened upon Spain, 
the brood of Rojas and Sandoval, a.nd replaced them 
with his own creatures^ Philip, like his father, meant 
well," and was naturally a much more able manjjbut 
heTwas idle, pleasure-loving, and pathetically unabl^-to 
resist temptation, each constantly recurring transgres- 
sion being followed by an agony of remorse, only to 
be again committed when the first poignancy of regret 
had passed. 

Following the advice of Olivares, he attempted to 
mend matters by cutting down expenses alone, instead 
of changing the system of taxation and finance ; and 
the * spirited foreign policy ' which he adopted soon 
involved him in expenditure, which later completed 
the downfall of the country. The foolish old dream- 
that catholic unity might be won "by Spanish arms still 
kept him at war with the Dutch, whilst the Moors 
were harrying the Spanish coasts and commerce, and 
France and Spain were already at loggerheads again, 
now that Marie de Medici and her crew had been 
thrust into the background. Instead of recognising 
facts and lying low to recuperaterOlTvares and Philip, 
witE the blinded nation behind them, were as boastful 
and haughty as their predecessors had been in the 
days of Spain's strength. The weak poltroon who 
reigned unworthily in England, was ever ready to 
truckle to apparent strength. He had sacrificed 
Raleigh at Spain's bidding, he had been contemptu- 


ously used and scorned by Lerma and Philip in. when 
he had tried to marry his heir to a Spanish Infanta, 
and he had been cleverly kept from an alliance with 
France by hopes and half promises. But the Palatinate 
was still unrestored, and when Philip in. had died, 
James made another attempt with the new King^to 
wfn Spain's friendship by a marriage. 

TKe hare-brained trip of Prince Charles and Buck- 
ingham to Madrid, to win the hand of the Infanta and 
the alliance of Spain, has often been described, and 
can hardly be touched upon here. The Prince 
suddenly appeared disguised at the English embassy 
at Madrid on the 7th March 1622, and the next day, 
to the dismay of Olivares, the awkward visit was 
known to all the capital. He and young Philip made 
the best of a bad business. To abandon Austria and 
the _Palatinate for the sake of protestant England~3id 
not suit them, but they could be polite. All the edicts 
ordering economy of dress, eating, and adornments, 
were suspended, and whilst Charles stayed in Madrid 
a tempest of prodigality prevailed. Isabel and the 
Infanta played their parts in the farce with apprehen- 
siorf and reluctance, for the former knew that the. 
besought alliance was directed against France, and the 
Infanta was horrified at the idea of marrying a heretic. 
But they did their best to keep up appearances, espe- 
cially Isabel, who treated Charles most graciously. 
The day after his arrival, Philip and his wife and 
sister, the latter with a blue ribbon round her arm to 
distinguish her, road in a coach to the church in the 
Prado, and Charles, of course quite by accident, met 
them both coming and going, to his great satisfaction. 
Soon after Isabel sent to the English prince a fine 
present of white underwear, a nightgown beautifully 


worked, and several scented coffers, with golden keys, 
full of toilet requisites, probably guessing that in his 
rapid voyage he had not brought such luxuries with 
him ; and at the great bull fight at the Plaza Mayor in 
honour of the Prince, she sat in brown satin, bordered 
with gold, in the fine balcony of the city breadstore 
overlooking the Plaza, as Charles, in black velvet and 
white feathers, rode his fine bay horse into the arena by 
the side of Philip, to take his place in an adjoining box. 
Before the masked ball on Easter Sunday, given by 
the Admiral of Castile in Charles's honour, Isabel in 
white satin, covered with precious stones, dined in 
public ; and then, changing her dress to one of black 
and gold, awaited the English Prince to lead her to 
the ballroom. There during the entertainment, and 
on all other occasions, he sat at her right hand under a 
royal canopy, with Philip on her left ; whilst the Earl 
of Bristol, on his knees before them, interpreted the 
small talk suitable to the occasion. And so, with 
comedies and cane tourneys, banquets and balls, Charles 
and Buckingham were beguiled by Olivares for well 
nigh six months, until the farce grew stale^ anji Charles, 
wended his way home again, nominally betrothed to 
tHeTnfanta, but really outwitted and his country humi- 
liaTed^ The defeat was softened by much loving 
profession and splendid presents from Philip and his 
courtiers to the English Prince ; and it is somewhat 
curious that, on the departure of Charles, the present 
given to him by Isabel again took the form of white 
linen garments, fifty amber-dressed skins, two hundred 
and fifty scented kidskins for gloves, a large sum in 
silver crowns, and other things. 1 

1 From MSS. of Diego de Soto, de Aguilar Royal Academy of History, 
Madrid, G. 32, and another in British Museum, Add. 10,236. 


Philip and his wife had now settled down to their 
regular life in the most brilliant court in Europe. It 
w~as~ the Augustan age of Spanish literature and the 
drama, and a perfect craze for comedies and satirical 
verse seized upon the Spanish people, under the in- 
fluence of the King and Queen, both of them passion- 
ately fond of the theatre and diversions of all sorts. 
Isabel, ITk~e her husband, was conventionally devout, 
and her religious benefactions were constant, as well as 
her attendances at the ceremonies of the church ; r but 
in her devotion she had none of the gloomy monastic 
character which had afflicted her husband's family, and 
the social demeanour of the courtiers and of the tqwnis - 
people generally underwent a complete change in her 
time. Her manners, indeed, were so free and debonair 
as to have given rise to some quite unsupported scandal 
as to her faithfulness to her husband. Madrid was a 
perfect hotbed of tittle-tattle ; everybody considered it 
necessary to be able to spin satirical verses, and as 
these were generally anonymous and in manuscript, 
the reputation of no one, high or low, was safe from 

The reaction from the rigid propriety of previous 
reigns~~led the Court of Philip iv. to assume a licence 

1 Father Florez and other ecclesiastical writers give many instances of 
her liberality in contributing to pious works, and in Reinas Catolicas 
there is an account of Isabel's action at the time (in 1624), that a 'heretic 
had outraged the Most Holy Sacrament in this my convent of St. Philip.' 
In addition to the services of atonement for the outrage in all the churches, 
' the royal family made such an atonement as never was seen, as befitted 
an insult to the greatest of the mysteries. The corridors of the palace 
were adorned with all the valuable and beautiful possessions of the crown, 
and a separate altar was erected in the name of each royal personage. 
That of the Queen attracted the attenion of all beholders for the taste it 
exhibited, and the immense value of the jewels that adorned it belonging 
to her Majesty. The value of these jewels was computed at three million 
and a half (of reals). 


that quite shocked foreigners. Much of the day was 
passed in parading up and down the Calle Mayor 
(High Street) in coaches, and much of the night in 
summer in promenading in the dry bed of the river. 
Gallantry became the fashion, and ladies, very far from 
resenting, welcomed broad compliments and doubtful 
jests addressed to them by strangers in the streets. 1 
The palace itself, especially the new pleasure palace of 
the Buen Retire, built in the Prado for Philip by 
Olivares in 1632, was a notorious focus of intrigue; 
encouraged by the example of Philip himself, by far 
the most dissolute king of his line. From his early 
youth he had delighted in amateur acting, and under a 
pseudonym (Un Ingenio de esta Corte), wrote comedies 
himself, and delighted in the society of dramatic people. 
Isabel was as keen a lpver_pf the stage as iier 
husband, and from the first days after the mourning 
for Prlilip nf. was over, she began her favourite 
diversion of private theatricals in her own apartments. 
From October 1622, every Sunday and Thursday 
during the winter, as well as on holidays, comedies 
were performed by regular actors in her private theatre. 
Some of these comedies may be mentioned to show 
the taste of the Queen in such matters. ' The Scorned 
Sweetheart,' ' The Loss of Spain,' and ' The Jealousy of 
a Horse,' were three plays by Pedro Valdes, for which 
Isabel paid 300 reals (6) each, the previous price 
having been ^4. ' Gaining Friends,' ' The Power of 
Opportunity,' and 'How our Eyes are Cheated,' ' The 
Fortunate Farmer,' 'The Woman s Avenger,' and 'The 
Husband of His Sister,' were others ; and the total 

1 ' Voyage d'Espagne.' Aersens van Sommerdyk, and many othei 
visitors to Spain at the time testify to this. See also 'Relatione dell' 
Ambasciatore di Venetia.' British Museum MSS., Add. 8,701. 


number of such plays represented in the Queen's apart- 
ments in the palace during the winter of 1622-23, was 
forty-three, the fees for which reached 13,500 reals 
Wa 7 o). 

Whilst the Prince of Wales was in Madrid the 
theatres in the palace, and the two public courtyard 
theatres in the capital, had a busy season. James 
Ho well, writing from Madrid at the time, 2 says, * There 
are many excellent poems made here since the Prince's 
arrival, which are too long to couch in a letter. Yet 
I will venture to send you this one stanza of Lope de 

" Carlos Estuardo soy, 
Que, siendo amor mi guia, 
Al cielo de Espana voy, 
For ver mi estrella Maria." 

" Charles Stuart here am I 
Guided by love afar, 
Into the Spanish sky 
To see Maria my star." 

' There are comedians once a week come to the palace, 
where, under a great canopy, the Queen and the 
Infanta sit in the middle, our Princeps and Don 
Carlos on the Queen's right hand, the King and the 
little Cardinal (i.e. the King's boy-brother, Ferdinand) 
on the Infanta's left hand.' 

Philip's notorious and scandalous infidelity to his 
wife, to whom, nevertheless, he was devotedTy^ttacEecl, 
did not prevent him from being violently jealous of 
any appearance of special loving homage to her beauty 
ancT charm. At one of the great cane tourneys to 
celebrate his accession in the summer of 1621, it was 

1 Historia del Arte Dramatico en Espana (translated from the German 
: of A. F. Schack). 

2 Howell's 'Familiar Letters.' 


noticed that when Juan de Tassis, Count of Villa- 
mediana, rode with his troop of horsemen into the 
arena, he was wearing a sash covered with the silver 
coins called reales (royals), and flaunting as his motto, 
' My loves are reals ' (or royal). The Count was a 
spiteful poetaster, neither good looking nor young, but 
boastful and presumptuous ; and the quidnuncs of the 
capital who flocked Liar's parade,' * began to whisper 
that this was a challenge to the love of the Queen ; 
and that the King, when his wife had remarked that 
Villamediana aimed well, had replied, 'Yes, but he aims 
too high.' It is now fairly certain that Villamediana's 
homage was not intended for the Queen, but for 
another lady, named Francisca de Tavara, with whom 
the King was carrying on an intrigue at the time ; 2 
and beyond her usual jovial heartiness there is no 
ground for supposing that Isabel gave Villamediana 
any encouragement. 

But in the following spring of 1622, when the Court 
was at Aranjuez, a far more serious matter happened 
which produced tragic results for Villamediana. There 
was a great festival to celebrate Philip's seventeenth 
birthday, and one of the attractions was a temporary 
theatre of canvas and wood erected in the ' island 
garden,' and beautifully adorned, in which was to be 
represented at night a comedy in verse written by the 
Count of Villamediana, and dedicated to the Queen. 
The comedy was called ' La Gloria de Niquea,' and 
Isabel was to represent the part of the goddess of 
beauty. All the Court was assembled, the King being 
in his seat with his brothers and sister, and the Queen 

1 The steps of the Church of St. Philip in the Calle Mayor was s 
called El Mentidero. 

2 Speech (published) by Don Eugenio Hartzenbusch to the Roy ! 
Academy of History, Madrid, 1861, where the whole question is discussec. 


in the retiring rooms behind the stage. The inside of 
the flimsy building was of course lit brilliantly with 
wax candles and lamps, whilst in the densely wooded 
gardens outside all was dark, when suddenly, at the 
moment that the prologue had been finished, a cry 
went up from behind the curtain : and then a long 
tongue of flame licked up the side, and immediately 
the whole of the stage was aflame. Panic seized upon 
the gaily bedizened crowd, and there was a rush to 
escape. In the confusion the King with difficulty 
found his way out, only to rush to the back of the 
edifice in search of his wife. Villamediana had been 
before him, and Philip found his wife half fainting in 
the Count's arms. 

Whatever may be the truth of the matter, it was 
soon noised about by the scandalmongers of Madrid 
that Villamediana had planned the whole affair, and 
had purposely set fire to the place that he might have 
an excuse for clasping the Queen in his arms. This 
was on the 8th April 1622 ; and when, in August of 
the same year, Villamediana was assassinated in his 
coach at nightfall in the Calle Mayor, within a few 
yards of his own house, 1 all fingers pointed to Philip 
himself as the instigator of the crime ; and the current 
jingle ascribed to Lope de Vega, in which it says that 
' el impulse fu soberano ' echoed public opinion on 
the matter. No blame, however, in any case can be 
ascribed to Isabel, nor did Philip ever cease to hold 
her in affection and esteem. 

She was a true daughter of her father, sage in 
counsel, bold in action, but with a gaiety of heart that 
often made her pleasures look frivolous and unbecoming. 

1 The house now belonging to Count Onate, just out of the Puerta del 


More Spanish than the Spaniards, she loved the bull- 
fight and the theatre with an intensity that delighted 
her husband's subjects, who were crazy for both pas- 
times, but in her boisterous vitality she would often 
countenance amusements contrived for her which we 
should now think coarse. Quarrels and fights between 
country women would be incited, or nocturnal tumults 
by torchlight in the gardens of Aranjuez or the Retire, 
arranged for her to witness ; snakes or other noxious 
reptiles would be secretly set loose on the floor of a 
crowded theatre to the confusion of the spectators, 
whilst the Queen almost laughed herself into a fit, at 
one of the windows overlooking the scene. The Court 
indeed during the first years of her married life was a 
merry one, notwithstanding its ostentatious devotionj 
arrd, although Olivares more than once urged the 
King to take a more active interest in the government 
and give less time" to jiis amusements, the minister's 
enemies, and he had many, averred that there was 
nothing he really liked better than to keep the young 
monarch immersed in pleasure, that he himself might 
rule supreme. 1 

Much as Isabel herself loved pleasure, she began to 
be anxious, as troubles at home and abroad accumulated, 
at the complete abandonment of public affairs to the 
v minister, and she urged Philip most earnestly to 
give more time to his duties. She had good reason 
to be distrustful, for she saw how weak to resist his 
impulses Philip was. His love affairs were legion, 
and as in the case of most of his courtiers, gallantry 
became a habit with him. There was, however, one 

1 It is certain that Olivares urged Philip most fervently to attend to 
business in the early years of his reign. See my chapter on Philip iv. in 
' The Cambridge Modern History,' vol. iv., for a letter on the subject from 


affair of Philip's that gave his wife more disquietude 
than most of the others. Olivares, it was said, in 
pursuance of his system, had agents all over Spain to 
send to Madrid the most talented actors and attractive 
actresses that could be found ; and in 1627 there appeared 
as a member of a very clever troupe at the ' Corral de 
la Pacheca ' * a girl of sixteen named Maria Calderon. 
She was no great beauty, but of extraordinary grace 
and fascination, with a voice so sweet, and speech so 
captivating, that she subdued all hearts. Philip saw 
her on the stage, and fell in love with her at onec. She 
was summoned to the room overlooking the courtyard 
that served the King for a private box, in order that he 
might listen more closely to the cadence of her lovely 
voice, and the inflammable heart of Philip grew warmer 
still. From the Corral to the palace was but a step 
when the king willed it, and the ' Calderona ' became 
Philip's acknowledged mistress. Gifts and caresses 
were piled upon her by the lovelorn King ; and the 
Calderona, proud of her position, turned a severe face 
to all other lovers, needing, as she said, no favour but 
royal favour. 

k On the 1 7th April 1629 she had a son by the King, 
to tfiegreat delight of Philip. The child JuanHoL 
Austria was the handsomest member of his house, and 
FrnTip's affection for him from the first was intense ; 
somewhat to Isabel's chagrin when she herself bore 
him a son six months afterwards. 2 But from the 
worthy ' Calderona ' she had no more rivalry to fear. 
As soon as the actress could go out she sought the 
King, and, throwing herself at his feet, craved per- 

1 On the site of the present Teatro espafiol in the Plaza de Sant Ana. 

2 Philip had had a son by another lady high at Court three years before 
this, in 1626, of whom an account from unpublished sources will be found 
in ' The Year after the Armada/ etc., by Martin Hume. 


mission, humbly and tearfully, to devote the rest of her 
life to religion in a convent, now that she had been 
honoured by bearing a son to the King. Philip loved 
her still and hesitated, but she firmly refused to cohabit 
with him again ; and with sorrow he gave way, and the 
Calderona became a nun. 1 

Isabel's children were many, five who died at, or 
soon after, their births having preceded the looked-for 
heir of Spain, Don Baltasar Carlos, that chubby, sturdy 
little Prince (born in October 1629) who prances his 
faTpony for ever upon the canvas of Velazquez. The 
fastuous taste of the King and Court was satisfied to 
the full in the baptism of Baltasar Carlos. The 
Countess of Olivares, who was as supreme in the palace 
as her husband was in the country, held the babe at 
the font, seated, as we are told by an eyewitness, upon 
' a seat of rock crystal, the most costly piece of furniture 
ever seen in Europe ' ; and presents were showered 
upon the midwife to the value of thirteen thousand 
ducats. As soon as the Queen was able to appear, 
her birthday (2ist November) was celebrated on this 
occasion as it had never been before. Masquerades 
on horseback, torchlight parades, cane contests and 
bullfights succeeded each other, in all of which the 
King made a sumptuous appearance with his brother, 
Don Carlos ; and the Queen, who had given an heir 
to the crown, was honoured to the full. 

This splendid Court, strutting and posturing in rich 
garments upon the brink of the slope which was 
leading to Spain's overthrow, had the advantage of 
being immortalised upon canvas by the greatest master 
of portraiture that ever lived, and laid bare to the very 

1 From an unpublished contemporary account in Italian. B. M. Ac 5 J 


soul by some of the keenest satirists who ever wielded 
gerh The battue parties, in which Philip and his wife 
delighted, for the killing of stags in an enclosure, are 
brought before us as if we were present by the great 
picture in which Velazquez has portrayed the scene. 1 
In the park of Aranjuez, with the afternoon sun glinting 
through the trees, dark against a cloudless sky, the 
white canvas enclosure is erected. Into its gradually 
narrowing limits the frightened deer have been driven 
by mounted beaters, and at the only exit through the 
neck of the funnel are stationed the gentlemen, beneath 
a sort of platform of leafy boughs decked with red 
cloth, in which the ladies sit. The central figure of 
the twelve ladies, seated upon a crimson cushion, the 
better to see the sport, is the Queen, Isabel of Bourbon, 
dressed in a yellow robe, and wearing a white bow 
upon her head. Beneath the platform there await, 
mounted, the onrush of the deer, Philip and his two 
brothers, Carlos and Ferdinand, and, of course, 
Olivares. With their hunting knives, they slash at 
the deer as they fly past underneath the ladies' bower, 
killing some, ham-stringing others, and leaving the 
rest that escape to be dealt with by the hounds 
awaiting them beyond. The ground beneath the 
bower is drenched with the warm blood of the 
butchered beasts, and the ladies smile approval at the 
sickly spectacle, whilst groups of courtiers, servants, 
and beaters, crowd the foreground and discuss the 
King's prowess. 

Another hunting scene, a little less repugnant to 
modern ideas, is the famous * Boar Hunt* in the 
National Gallery in London. Here the canvas en- 
closure is in the hunting seat of the Pardo, and Philip, 

1 Ashburton Collection. 


on his prancing mount, is just thrusting his forked 
javelin into the flank of a passing boar, whilst around 
him are his courtiers and companions in the sport, 
with Olivares nearest ; and in the arena there are some 
clumsy blue carriages, with partially curtained windows 
innocent of glass except in front, in one of which sits 
Queen Isabel. The mules of her coach have, of 
course, been unharnessed and put out of harm's way ; 
but as the boars are agile and fierce, and had been 
known to leap into the coaches, the ladies themselves 
are armed with light javelins to repel them. Every 
detail of the life of this pleasure-loving Court has been 
fixed for us by the great painter: the ladies and 
gentlemen in the garb in which they lived, the dwarfs 
and buffoons who amused them, the palaces in which 
they intrigued ; and, as a running accompaniment 
always, the sated weary face of the King from youth to 

Fair and lymphatic, with dull blue eyes, and colour- 
less sallow face, Philip had inherited the tradition that 
in all public appearances the King of Spain must never 
smile : and, mad votary of pleasure as he was, he 
never moved a muscle either in delight or annoyance 
whilst he was behind the footlights. Isabel was more 
spontaneous, and ^Spanish etiquette n^vercrusHeH^her. 
But as time went on and the clouds piled up for the 
coming tempest, her face grew heavier and her eyes 
more sad. Her portrait was painted many times by 
Valazquez, though only one specimen remains in the 
Museo del Prado, the equestrian figure, painted at 
about the time of Baltasar's birth before misfortune 
had spoilt her life. Another likeness of her, now at 
Hampton Court, was painted ten years later (1638), 
shows the change wrought by trouble : but in all 


Velazquez's representations of the Queen, we see the 
same characteristics : the large, expressive black eyes, 
the^broad spacious forehead, and the strong full jaw ; l - 
and, though the general aspect was more like Tier 
buxom mother than her clever father, Isabel's 
countenance is alive with intelligence. In the later 
portFaits the face grows weary, and the lower part is 
flaccid and heavy, but in all the painted portraits of 
Isabel by Velazquez, we have the woman herself 
before us ; not a sensuous idealisation of her, like that 
painted by Rubens, and now at the Louvre. 

If the painter has handed to us by his genius the 
exact reflection of this Court in a way that makes it 
live for us more vividly, perhaps, than any other, 
Quevedo and his followers, especially Velez de Guevara 
in El Diablo Cojuelo, have left in biting prose records 
no less faithful of its amusements, its follies, and crimes. 
By the light held up by the satirists we see an utterly 
decadent society, sunk, from the King downwards, into 
a slough of apathetic despondency of ever bettering 
things, whilst each individual strives madly to get 
as much pleasure as he can wring out of life, by fair 
means or foul, before the catastrophe overwhelms them 
all. Faith has decayed, and trembling superstition 
mixed with scoffing irreverence has taken its place : 
idleness is everywhere ; poverty and squalor seek to 
masquerade as nobility, in order to claim the privilege 
to plunder which Court and Church alone possess, and 
labour is scorned as beneath the subjects of a King so 
wealthy and powerful as the sovereign of Spain is still 
assumed to be, in the face of all evidence to the con- 
trary. A pretentious, hollow society it was, where all 
sought to share in the Scramble, even~at second ^or 
tKfrd hand, for the possessions of the State, oblivions 

" Y 


to the fact that the State itself could possess nothing^ 
but what the individual citizens supplied. 

Pretence was not limited to rank and material 
possessions. The noble poet and satirist kept a 
sycophantic man of letters to supply him with the 
lucubrations that moved the Court to admiration when 
they bore the name of a marquis, the cities swarmed 
with sham students, who pattered Latin tags, and 
cadged on the strength of a scholarship that was not 
theirs : and when showy pageants palled upon the 
King, and even his beloved comedies failed to spur his 
jaded wit, Philip could always find solace in the 
pedantic and affected academies and poetical contests 
over which he was so fond of presiding in his palace. 
There well-studied impromptus were mouthed, far- 
fetched conceits declaimed with a pomposity worthy of 
inspired prophecy, and preciosity run mad twisted 
and befouled the noble Castilian speech into the 
bastard Latiniparla, at which Quevedo gibed whilst 
himself revelling in it. 

It was a Court of mean shams and squalid splendour, 
wherejall was rottenness lout jhe fair dufsicle! How 
ostentatious that outside was may be seen m the many 
records of court festivities that a bombastic age 
has handed to us. They are for the most part in- 
sufferably tedious catalogues of the dress and orna- 
ments of pompously named nobles, courtiers, an3 
favourites ; I but a few details of two great feasts in 
which Isabel took a conspicuous part, may be set forth 
here as a specimen of the diversions of her time. An 
entertainment, given to the sovereigns by the Countess 

1 Soto de Aguilar, one of Philip's gentlemen of the wardrobe, wrote an 
interminable account of all the festivities of his time (MS. Royal Academy 
of History. Copy in the writer's possession), from which have been 
derived many details. 


of Olivares early in June 1631, in the garden of her 
brother, the Count of Monterey, inspired Olivares with 
the idea of outdoing all previous efforts in the same 
direction. The time was short, for the night of St. 
John (24th June) was the day fixed. Two comedies 
had to be written specially for the occasion ; and Lope 
de Vega, the most marvellously prolific playwright that 
ever lived, managed to compose one of them in three 
days : whilst Quevedo and Antonio Mendoza, put 
on their mettle by Lope's rapidity, wrote another 
jointly in a single day, whilst Olivarez himself snatched 
rare moments of leisure from State affairs, of which he 
was the universal minister, to superintend the re- 

As if by enchantment, in a few days there sprang up 
in the gardens I a sumptuous pavilion from which the 
King and Queen, with their favoured courtiers, might 
see the play. In front was erected the open air theatre, 
crowded with crystal lights and rare flowers, whilst all 
around were platforms for other guests, choristers, etc. 
At nine o'clock at night, Philip and Isabel alighted 
from their coach, and were received by Olivares to the 
sounds of soft music. When they had taken their 
seats, Philip on a chair of state, and Isabel on a pile of 
cushions, trays of presents were brought them, per- 
fumes, embroidered scented handkerchiefs, and essences 
in cut glass flasks, 2 Isabel being especially asked to 

1 The garden was that of Monterey, and with the two adjoining gardens, 
which for this occasion were thrown into one, occupied the whole space 
from the Calle de Alcala to the Carrera de San Geronimo, called the 
Salon del Prado. 

2 Amongst other trifles offered to the ladies at this feast were some of 
the small jars (bucaros) made of fine scented white clay, which it was at 
the time a feminine vice to eat. Madame D'Aulnoy gives a curious 
account of the evil effects produced by this strange eatable. She also 
mentions the curious craze in Madrid at the time amongst people of 


accept in addition a jewelled Italian fan. Quevedo's 
comedy, Quien mas miente medra mas (He who lies 
most thrives most) was represented first, after a musical 
prologue and a poetic welcome to Isabel recited by the 
famous actress Maria de Riquelme. The first 
representation occupied two hours and a half, we are 
told by an eyewitness : ' during which many excellent 
dances were introduced ; and although the players, 
having had little time to study, did not succeed in 
bringing out all the witty invention of the verses, it is 
certain that in many ordinary comedies together could 
not be found such an abundance of smart jests as in 
this one alone ; for one day's work was sufficient 
for Don Francisco de Quevedo's wit to invent 
it all.' 

When the first comedy was finished Philip and 
Isabel were led to the adjoining garden of the Duke 
of Maqueda, 1 where there had been erected two bowers 
or summer-houses of leaves and blossoms, with a great 
number of coloured lights. These two arbors, one 
for the King and the other for the Queen, communi- 
cated by an arched passage of - foliage, and were 
surrounded by similar erections for the suite, each 
bower being supplied with a table of light refresh- 
ments. In the King's bower there was a hamper 
containing a long cloak of brown cloth, ornamented 
at the edge by scrolls of black and silver, solid silver 
hanging buttons, and loops serving for fastening. 
This was accompanied by a white wide-brimmed hat 

fashion to throw eggshells filled with scent at each other in the theatres, 
parties, and even whilst promenading in carriages. Philip himself was 
much addicted to this pastime. 

1 This was the garden on the corner of the Carrera de San Gero- 
nimo and the Prado, now occupied by the Villahermosa palace and 


trimmed with brown feathers and a white aigrette, 
and a Walloon falling collar, 1 which was still occasion- 
ally worn in place of the almost universal^/z'//^ The 
King's brothers were similarly supplied with disguises ; 
whilst in the Queen's bower the hamper contained a 
mirror, a brown woollen cloak embroidered at the 
bottom with sprigs of black silk and silver, the 
fastenings in this case also being solid silver hanging 
buttons and silver loops. The cloak was lined with 
silk of the same colour, hemmed and stitched with 
black and silver, and with it was a beautiful lace 
mantilla, a pleated lace ruff, and a white hat adorned 
with brown and white plumes and spangles. The 
whole Court was thus supplied with wraps and head- 
gear against the night air. A light supper of sur- 
passing daintiness was then served in the arbors, 
and the whole party, politely supposed to be disguised, 
proceeded to witness the second comedy ; the Queen 
in her capricious garb, 'adding to her natural and 
marvellous graciousness and beauty the extraordinary 
attraction of the strangeness of attire, without losing 
an atom of the dignity which distinguishes her 
Majesty, no less than the other admirable virtues 
and perfections which shine in her.' We are assured 
that the unusual hats and garments worn by the King 
and his brothers were equally powerless to spoil their 
dignified appearance, * as they unite those qualities 
which vulgar censure and envy always strive to keep 
apart, namely, great beauty and a noble air : ' and the 
writer of the account from which I quote, nervous, 
apparently, at what the outside public would say to 
such a derogation of royalty as to don disguises, 

1 Philip is represented as wearing such a collar in his portrait by 
Velazquez at Dulvvich College. 


assures us that only a very select company was 
allowed to be present. 1 

The comedy of Lope de Vega, ' La Noche de San 
Juan,' was then__represente4_9 n the open air stage, 
and a short^concert followed, after which the King 
and Queen were conducted to a flower-decked gallery 
erected in the other adjoining garden. 2 Here, after 
midnight, another delicate Defection was partaken of, 
the Count and Countess of Olivares serving the King 
and Queen, the whole banquet being so well organised 
that everything went off with the utmost decorum and 
quietness, except for the sweet music which enlivened 
the feast. When the day was just breaking the King 
and Queen entered their coach and, after a few turns 
in the Prado, rode home to the palace to bed. Olivares 
was praised to the skies for the organisation of this 
lavish feast, and the wonder is expressed that the 
licentious crowd of people who frequented the Prado 
at night should have been so awed by the presence 
of the King in the garden adjoining, that no disturbance 
or disorder took place. 

This feast, fine as it was, was completely thrown 
in the shade by another which took place a few yards 
away, two years later (1633), when, at tremendous ex- 
pense, and much unjust appropriation of other people's 
property, Olivares run up and sumptuously furnished, 
in an amazing short time, the pleasure- palace of the 
Buen Retiro, which afterwards became Philip's favourite 
place of residence, where his comedies, academies, con- 
certs, recitations and masquerades could be indulged 

\ Although he confesses that when most of the great folks had retired, 
and daylight lit up the scene of revelry, great numbers of people were 
found hidden in the shrubberies. 

2 On the spot where the Bank of Spain now stands, until a few years 
ago the site of the palace and grounds of the Marquis of Alcanices. 


in with more propriety than in the gloomy, old half- 
Moorish palace on the cliff at the other end of the 
town. The house warming of the Buen Retire lasted 
for a week in one continual round of tedious entertain- 
ment, in which invention and lavishness exhausted 
itself; but this was only the first of a series of such 
revels in the same place, for which any pretext was 

hT~January 1637, for instance, when Philip learnt 
that his brother-in-law, Ferdinand, had been elected 
King of the Romans, and future Emperor, an enter- 
tainment was ordered on a prodigious scale at the 
Buen Retiro. Three thousand men were set to work 
to level a hill that Pinelo (Anales) says ' had stood 
since the world was made,' for the purpose of building 
a wooden enclosure 608 feet long and 480 wide. Four 
hundred and eight large balconies or boxes surrounded 
this vast space, which was painted to look like masonry 
outside, whilst the inside was hung with silk and tapes- 
tries, and a silver railing ran round the front of the 
boxes. Nine hundred huge candelabra, 'with four 
lights in each,' illuminated the plaza ; and the royal 
box, with its gilded roofs and pillars, and its green 
and gold appointments, glittered with mirrors which 
cast back the twinkling lights that fell upon them. 
Blazonry, imperial and royal crowns, scutcheons of 
arms and 'conceited devices,' were displayed on every 
side; and when, on the I5th February (Sunday), 
Philip came to the feast in state from the house, in 
the Carrera de San Geronimo, where he had robed, 
through a broad lane of people, with torch-bearers 
standing shoulder to shoulder throughout his route, 
people said that never had such a gorgeous show been 
seen in Spain. 


With martial music, before them rode in his train, 
sixteen bands of nobles, twelve in each band, all 
dressed alike in black velvet and silver, and every 
man carrying in his right hand a lighted wax taper, 
whilst he restrained his prancing steed with the left. 
Last of all the bands came those of Olivares and the 
King, dressed like the others, but with some richer 
ornaments ; and then great triumphal cars of strange 
and showy designs, made by Cosme Lotti, the clever 
Florentine. Each of them was 30 feet long and 46 
feet high, lit with 100 torches, and contained in- 
numerable figures and devices ; and bands of music, 
the weight being so great that twenty-four bullocks 
were needed to draw each one, the bullocks themselves 
being hung with crimson, and accompanied by men 
in the garb of Orientals bearing silver torches. After 
them followed forty savages, whose clubs were torches ; 
and as the great procession entered the enclosed space, 
and each party passed before Queen Isabel in the royal 
box, a fanfare sounded and the men saluted the sover- 
eign ; the whole procession, after having completed 
the circle, forming up in front of the royal box, whilst 
the mummers on the cars represented before the 
Queen ' a colloquy of peace and war.' 

Philip's band of nobles in their musical ride and 
intricate evolutions, of course excelled all others ; and 
the King, acclaimed as the champion cavalier of his 
realm, ascended to his wife's box to lay at her feet the 
guerdon of his prowess, and witness the rest of the 
feast at her side. For ten days thereafter the feasting 
and vain show went on, comedies, concerts, banquets, 
balls, water fetes on the lake, illumination of the 
woods, bulLfighia by torchlight, a poetical contest and 
greasy poles ;_a. cotillon in which the party pelted each 


otherwith eggshells full of perfume, and a hundred 
otheFdevices to waste time and money, 1 and to beguile 
Philip from the looming affairs of State, now wholly 
managed by the strong, dark-faced man with the big_ 
head and bowed shoulders, whem-most people hated 
for his imperiousness and his greed, the King's bogey 
as some called him, the second King of Spain, trie 
Count Duke of Olivares. 

The brilliant hopes of peace and retrenchment which 

had""greeted Philip's accession had ail been falsified. 
The Catholic union with France represented by the 
marriages of Philip with Isabel and of Louis xm. with 
the Infanta Anna, had failed before the marriages 
:hemsefves were complete ; for the ambitious projects' 
of Philip ii. were agairT being revived by Olivares, who 
dreamed once more that Spain, cast down in the dust as 

^^_ ' ^-[ 

she was, might yet hold the hegemony over the powers, 
of Europe^ ancTclictate to Christendom the Articles of 
i^s faith. Itjwas a vain, foolish, vision in the circum- 
stances, for not of material strengtH^alone had Spain 
been stripped, but of the real secret of its short pre- 
doTninance, the firm conviction of divine selection and 
of the mvfhcibiliiyjDf its sacred cause. The country 
was as politically heterogeneous as ever^ whilst it had 
losT the homogeneity it had borrowed from religious 
exaltation ; and yet, with its rival, France, growing daily 
in national solidarity and_cpntributive capability under 
Richelieu, Spainwas hurried by Olivares into a perfect 
fever for conquest, and to the arrogant re-assertion of 
its old exploded claims. 

The employment of Spanish troops to overrun the 

1 Appendix to Mesonero Romanes' ' El Antiguo Madrid.' An account 
of this feast, though much less full, is also given in the newsletters of the 
date published by Sr. Rodriguez Villa in ' La Corte de Espafia en 1636 y 


Palatinate and reduce Bohemia, and the recrudescence 
of the interminable war against the Dutch, had knit 
the two branches of the house of Austria closer 
together than ever, and strengthened the Emperor 
immensely. It^ was clear, that unless Richelieu struck 
promptly and boldly, France would once again, if 
Olivares had his way, be shut in by a circle of enemies. 
France and Savoy, alarmed at the revived pretensions 
of Spain, made common cause with the protestant 
powers, and soon all Europe was at war. Spain was 
ruined, but at least the court nobles and the church 
were rich, and the national pride was excited to the 
utmost. The war was primarily against France, but 
Isabel of Bourbon was as fiercely Spanish as if her 
father had not been Henry the Great, and she herself 
set the example of sacrifice. The jewels she loved so 
well were sold to provide men-at-arms ; the ladies, who 
took their tone from the Queen, sent their valuables 
the same way ; the nobles, aroused by appeals to their 
pride, contributed voluntarily a million ducats to the 
war fund ; and the church opened its hoards to the ex- 
tent of raising and maintaining twenty thousand troops. 
All French property in Spain was confiscated, and the 
war for a time was carried on with an energy that 
reminded men of the great times of the Emperor. At 
first the Spaniards and Austrians carried all before 
them. Tilly in Germany, Spinola in Flanders, and 
Fadrique de Toledo on the sea, revived the glory of 
the house of Austria ; and Spanish pride rose once 
more to crazy arrogance. Philip the Great, the Planet 
King, were the titles already given to the idle young 
man, whom Olivares flattered and controlled. But 
when the first gust of enthusiasm was past, it was clear 
that Spain could not provide funds to carry on war by 


land and sea the world over ; and peace was made with 
England ; Savoy was won over, and thenceforward it was 
a duel to the death between the house of Austria and 
the house of France, between Olivares and Richelieu. 

For years the struggle went on with varying military 
phases, but with the inevitable result ot reducing 
poverty - stricken, idle Spain to absolute penury. 
"Every device to raise more money was tried, and all 
in vain. Crushing taxes upon production, debasement 
of~The coinage, confiscation, repudiation and robbery, 
were but weak resources to maintain a great foreign 
war by a Bankrupt State ; and unless Olivares con- 
fessed failure more money must be had. The Cortes 
of Castile was powerless to check the national waste, 
but the Cortes of Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia, 
w'ere still vigorous, and resisted all attempts to extort 
money except by their votes, grudgingly given only 
after much haggling. Olivares Had unHerstood as 
"clearly as Ferdinand and Isabel had done, that for the 
King of Spain to be powerful enough to cope with 
France he must control the whole resources of Spain. 
The bond of religious exaltation had dissolved, and 
could not be restored ; but the unification on political 
lines might be effected by weakening the separate 
auTonomous institutions of the outlying States. 

This was the plan of Olivares ; doubtless a wise one 
if pursued patiently and cautiously in times of peace 
and in an era of interior reforms. I^u^ Olivares, like 
Ferdinand the Catholic before him, needed national 
unity in a hurry, in order to obtain resources to figHt 
France^jiot for the purpose of making Spain a homo- 
geneous peaceful nation, 1 and his reckless attempts to 

1 The po A-A aims of Olivares are fully set forth in ' Spain, Its 
Greatness a T --e :ay,' Cambridge Historical Series, by Martin Hume. 


obtain money for his war with France by over-riding 
the' autonomous privileges of Catalonia and Portugal, 
and extorting taxation without parliamentary sanction, 
precipitated the ruin that had long threatened. In 
June 1640 Barcelona flamed out in revolt against 
Castile, and soon all Catalonia, and part of Aragpn 
and Valencia^ had repudiated the dominion of Philip, 
affd had made common cause with France^ Six 
months later, in December 1640, Portugal for similar^ 
reasons proclaimed the Duke of Braganza king, and 
cast off for ever the yoke of Spain. 

Philip, plunged in his pleasures, as we have seen, 
was "Kept in the dark. The Catalan insurgents were 
for~liim merely a band of rioters, as Olivares assured 
him, who would soon be suppressed ; and when Por- 
tugal proclaimed its freedom the minister had the 
effrontery to rush into Philip's chamber with an 
appearance of joy, and congratulated him upon gain- 
ing a new dukedom and a vast estate. ' How ? ' 
asked the King. ' Sire,' replied Olivares, 'the Duke 
of Braganza has gone mad and revolted against your 
Majesty. All his belongings are now forfeit and are 
yours.' But Philip knew better, and for once lost his 
marble serenity. Blow after blow fell upon him. 
Starving subjects. a~ crippIedjTade, an empty treasury, 
and his richest realms in revolt : these were the results 
of his twenty years rule, and all he had to show was 
the hollow glory of battles gained far away in quarrels 
not his^ownT^ 

He was good-hearted and really loved his subjects, 
but he had never learnt to rule, for he had never ruled 
his own passions or curbed his inclinations ; and Jie 
was in despair when the truth came to him, bit by bit. 
Frantic prayers ; tears and vows of amendment were 


his way of dealing with all the blows of fortune : but 
there were others at his side who were more practical 
and determined than he. For years the yoke of 
Olivares and his wife had galled the neck of Isabel. 
Fond of pleasure as she was, she had a statesman's 
mind, and her love for her promising^son Balta_s_ar, 
now aged thirteen, and the pride of his parents' heart, 
had sharpened her wits as she saw his ^n-at inheritance 
slipping away from him under the rule of a minister 
whom she personally disliked for his rudeness even to 
herT Again and again she had urged Philip to play 
the man and head his own armies in the field. Philip 
was willing, even eager, to do so ; but Olivares would 
not hear of it, and the breach widened between the 
Queen and the minister. Olivares was detested by 
most of the principal nobles and churchmen. His 
policy of war could only be paid for out of the plunder 
derived from them, since all other classes were reduced 
to poverty, and the elements of discontent gradually 
grouped around Isabel. 

At last Isabel's prayers, for once, overrode Olivares' 
counsel, and Philip stood firm in his determination to 
leaH his own armies to rescue Catalonia from^tlie 
l^rench. Olivares left no stone unturned to defeat 
the Queen. Obedient physicians certified that the 
voyage would injure the King's health, submissive 
Councils voted against the risk of the sovereign's life 
in war, and constitutional lawyers laid down that it was 
not proper for the King to go. Philip, tired out at 
last, snatched a report of the Council from the hands 
of the Protonotary who was about to present it, and, 

1 Olivares was notoriously offensive to ladies. On one occasion when 
Isabel gave an opinion on State affairs he told Philip that monks must 
be kept for praying and women for child-bearing. 


tearing it into pieces, cried, * Bring me no more reports 
about my going to Catalonia, but prepare for the 
journey, for go I will.' The royal confessor of 
course a creature of Olivares added his remonstrance 
against the King's journey, but was at once stopped 
by Philip, and was told that if Olivares did not want 
to go he could stay away ; and if he was not at Aran- 
juez when the King passed through he would not wait 
for him. 

It was a victory for Isabel that presaged the great 
minister's fall ; for OlivarcsllarectTTnt leave hi 

sicteTand the^Queen remained in the capital as Regent. 

Every device was adopted to delay the King's pro- 

, gress. Money_was wanted, and when that had been 

extorted, in many casesJBy 

and" pompous preparations for the journey were endless. 
Nine state coaches and six litters, a hundred and three 
saddle horses, with crowds of courtiers, were considered 
necessary for a campaign ; and every grandee and 
titled nobleman in Spain was warned that he must join 
the royal train. When, at last, after visits to number- 
less altars, Philip took leave of his wife at Vacia Madrid 
in April 1642, it was only to be delayed on the way 
for many weeks in ostentatious feasts, hunting parties 
and frivolities, before he at length arrived at Saragossa. 
By that time Aragon itself was half overrun by the 
French, and Philip, fully awake now to the terrible 
condition of affairs, grew ever more gloomy with his 
minister, who even now found means to keep the King 
isolated at Saragossa, miles away from the hostilities, in 
discounted inaction. 

In the meanwhile Isabel in Madrid, free from the 

1 One hundred and fifty persons in Madrid alone were cast into dungeons 
for not being liberal enough with their contributions on this occasion. 


terrifying presence of the favourite, organised the party 
~rjf"his opponents. She had always been a favourit* 
with the crowd for her popular manners, but now she 
won their hearts completely ; for they knew she was 
against the man upon wEose back they laid all their 
woes. She visited the guards and barracks, mustered 
the regiments in the capital and addressed to them 
harangues, exciting their loyalty to the King and 
Spain. Once more she sacrificed her ornaments, 
devoted herself to the comfort of the soldiers, raised 
a new regiment at her own expense in her son's name, 
presided over the Councils, and infused more activity 
and enthusiasm in the administration than had been 
seen for years. 

Isabel of Bourbon had seized her opportunity. Up 
to that time she had been simply an appanage of the 
splendours of the idle King ; now, with the power of a 
Regent and the favour of the people, she became the 
strongest personality in Spain. Her letters to the 
Ring were vigorous and brave ; and he thenceforward 
treated her with greater consideration, as if up to that 
time he had never realised that his wife was a woman 
of talent and spirit. Philip was kept idle at Saragossa, 
away from his army and his nobles for months. Once 
he acted on his own initiative and appointed a new 
commander-in-chief, the Marquis of Leganes, a kins- 
man of Olivares ; but the appointment was unfortunate. 
At the first engagement afterwards Philip's army was 
utterly routed before Lerida ; and as winter approached, 
with a badly fed, unpaid dwindling force, quarrelling 
generals, and his best provinces held by France, Philip 
returned to Madrid with an aching heart at the ertd-of 
the year 1642. 

He found the tone in his palace very different from 


when hejhad leftJt, There were four women, all of 
whom had Philip's ear, and who hated Olivares. The 
Queen, Anna of Austria, Queen of France, Philip's 
sister, the Duchess of Mantua (Margaret of Savoy), 
his cousin, who had been his viceroy in Portugal, and 
who rightly blamed the minister for the loss of the 
country ; she, moreover, being kept in semi-imprison- 
ment at Ocafia by the minister's orders, and Dona 
Anna de Guevara, the King's old nurse, who was also 
forbidden at Court by the same influence. These 
ladies were all in communication with each other and 
with the nobles who were Olivares' enemies, led by 
the Counts of Paredes and Castrillo. * My good 
intentions and my son's innocence,' Isabel told Paredes, 
' must for once serve the King for eyes : for if he sees 
through those of the Count Duke much longer, my 
son will be reduced to a poor King of Castile.' 

A week or two after the King's return, Isabel struck 
herTplow at the tottering tavounte. The first sign of 
the^vent was the escape of the King's Savoy cousin, 
the Duchess of Mantua, from Ocafia, and her arrival 
at Madrid late at night, after a ride of forty miles 
through a storm of sleet. Olivares was furious, and 
kept her waiting for four hours before he assigned her 
two wretched rooms in one of the royal convents. 
But Isabel received her in the palace with open arms 
the next morning. Then the banished nurse, Anna 
de Guevara, appeared in the palace in defiance of 
Olivares. That afternoon Philip visited his wife's 
room, and she, kneeling before him, with little 
Baltasar in her arms, implored him for the sake of 
their son to dismiss his evil minister before it was too 
late to rescue the realms his ineptitude had lost. In a 
torrent o words Isabel poured forth the pent-up 


complaints of years ; the wars that had ruined the 
country, the starving people, the lost provinces, the 
waste and frivolity that had been the rule of their 
lives, the insults and slights which she, personally, had 
suffered at the hands of Olivares and his wife,. and_tbe 
shame that a king, into whose hands God had confided 
so sacred a task, should delegate it to others. 

Philip was deeply moved, though he said nothing ; 
but as he left his wife's chamber, he was confronted in 
the corridor by the kneeling figure of his beloved 
foster-mother, Anna de Guevara. She, too, formed 
her impeachment of Olivares in impassioned words, 
and Philip could only reply, 'You have spoken the 
truth.' Then for two hours the Queen and the 
Duchess of Mantua were closeted with the King, and 
the victory was won. 1 That night, i;th January 1543^ 
Olivares was dismissed. He struggled for daysj;o 
regain his influence over the King, but tried in vain ; 
for Philip, like most weak men, was obstinate when 
once his mind was made up, and so, ruined and 
degraded, the Count Duke turned his back upon the 
Court he_had ruled, and went to madness and death, 
leaving Isabel of Bourbon, the mistress of the situation, 
the ' King's only minister,' as he said soon after, when 
he asked the nuns of shoeless Carmelites to pray for 
his 'minister.' 

Madrid went wild with joy at Olivares' fall. 

} - '"*" " " ^ - - - w * _ - - - - ' 

1 Isabels have always saved Spain/ the people cried, 
asTh'e King and Queen with the Duchess of Mantua 
went to the convent church of the barefoots to give 
thanks ; * Philip is King of Spain, at last, and will save 

1 Relatione dell' Ambasciatore di Venetia (MS. British Museum, Add. 
8,701), and also an account attributed (doubtfully) to Quevedo, printed in 
vol. iii. of the Semanario Erudito). 



his country.' But it needed much more than shouting 
to save Spain. Philip, spurred by his wife, plucked 
up more energy than ever before. He would be his 
own minister in future, and would take the field as 
soon as spring came, and wrest Catalonia from the 
French. Before that could be done, Philip's army 
met in Flanders with the greatest defeat it had ever 
sustained, a blow from which the reputation of the 
fafnotfs^Spanish infantry never recovered. His young 
brother, Cardinal Ferdinand, had died two years 
before, and his place in Flanders had been taken by 
the Portuguese noble Mello. He was a good soldier ; 
but Conde, young as he was, out-generalled him : and 
the defeat of Rocroy made it certain that France, and 
nofSpain, would in future lead Europe! But yet the 
soft ol Spain itsell mUSt be redeemed from the French 
invaders: and again, through the summer of 1643, 
Philip struggled manfully to regain his lost dominion ; 

whilst Isabel, as Regent in Madrid, organised, 

directed, and encouraged, with a spirit and energy 
thatwon_Jbr her the fervent love of her" husband's 
loyal subjects. Some success attended him, for he 
captured Lerida from the French : but the war was a 
terrible drain, and in the campaign of the following 
year, 1644, failure followed failure. 

The poor, weary, King's heart was almost breaking 
under his many troubles, when he was brought into 
contact with the saintly woman, who until the end was 
his one refuge and solace, the Venerable nun, Maria 
de Agreda, whose exhortations and prayers sustained 
him in his hardest trials, which were yet to come. 
Philip was in Saragossa at the beginning of October 
when news came to him that his wife was ill._ Send- 
ing his new favourite for his good^ resolves in that 


respect had soon failed Luis de Haro, to the front, to 
acquaint The army of the King's reason for leaving, he 
started at once for Madrid. 

On the 28th September 1644, Isabel had suffered 
from some sort of choleraic attack with much fever. 
She was copiously bled in the arms, and seemed to 
improve, but was soon seen to be suffering from violent 
erysipelas in the face ; the disease soon spreading to 
the throat, which was almost closed, as if by diphtheria. 
The patient was bled eight times more, but still the 
inflammation grew ; and, as usual with Spanish 
doctors, when bleeding failed, the charms of the church 
were resorted to. On the 4th October the last 
sacrament was administered, and the dead body of 
Saint Isidore was brought to the sick chamber. This 
having failed to effect a cure, the more sacred relic 
still, the miraculous image of the Virgin of Atocha 
was brought in procession from its shrine into the 
convent of St. Thomas, at Madrid, with the intention 
of placing it for adoration by the Queen's bed. When 
Isabel's permission was asked, she said that she was 
unworthy of the honour of such a visit, and Prince 
Baltasar visited the image instead, to implore upon his 
knees that his mother's life might be spared. ( There 
was no church nor convent in Madrid that did not 
bring out in procession its crucifixes and most sacred 
images in prayer for the Queen's health, and the whole 
people wailed fervently their prayers and rogations that 
her life might be granted.' 1 

On the 5th of October, the dying woman tried to 
malce her new will ; but she was too weak, and only 
left verbal authority before witnesses j<p_the King 
to carry out her intentions. At noon on that day she 

1 News letter of nth October in Semanario Erudito, vol. xxxiii. 


sent for a fleur de lys, which formed one of the 
ornaments in the crown, and in which was encased a 
fragment of the true cross. This she worshipped 
fervently. Her two children were brought to her, 
Baltasar and the girl Maria Theresa, but she would 
not let them approach her for fear of contagion, 
though she blessed them fervently from afar. ' There 
are plenty of Queens for Spain,' she sighed, but 
princes and princesses are scarce. The next day, as 
the great clock of the palace marked a quarter past 
four in the afternoon, Isabel of Bourbon breathed her 
last, a ged Jbrty-one. Garbed as a Franciscan nun, the 
body "was carried that night to the royal convent of bare- 
foots ; and thence the day after in a leaden coffin, encased 
in another of brocade, it was borne back to the palace 
to lie in state amidst blazing tapers, nodding plumes, and 
all the pomp and circumstance of royal mourning. 

In the meanwhile, Philip was hurrying from Aragon, 
a prey to the keenest anxiety. At Maranchon, about 
fifty miles from the capital, where the King had 
alighted at a wretched inn, the news came that the 
Queen was dead. The ministers and courtiers around 
the King forbore to tell him for a time, out of mere 
pity ; for the journey and anxiety had told upon him 
' and he had only just dined.' But a few miles further 
on, at Almadrones, the news was broken to him in his 
carriage by those who accompanied him. _A terrible 
burst of grief, and an order that he might be left alone 
in his sorrow, proved that Philip, for all his faithless- 
ness, was fond of his wife ; and then, rather than enter 
the city where the Queen's body lay, he turned aside 
and sought solitude at the Pardo, 1 where he was soon 
joined by his son Baltasar, whilst, with the usual 

1 Matias de Novoa, ' Memorias. 3 He was one of Philip's chamberlains. 


heavy pomp at dead of night, the body of Isabel was 
carried across the bleak Castilian table-land to the new 
jasper vault in the Escorial, which, from very dread, 
she had never dared to enter in her lifetime. 

Three days after Isabel's death, the sainted mystic 
of Agreda saw, as she asserted, the phantom of the 
Queen before her, asking for the prayers of the 
godly to liberate her from the pains she was suffering 
in purgatory, for the vain splendour of her attire 
during her life. 1 To the nun Philip's cry of pain went 
up, whilst to all the rest of the world he turned a 
leaden face. On the i5th November he wrote 
4 Since the Lord was pleased to take from me to him- 
self the Queen, who is now in heaven, I have wanted 
to write to you, but the great distress I am in, and 
the business with which I am overwhelmed, have 
hitherto prevented me from doing so. I find myself 
more oppressed with sorrow than seems bearable, for 
I have lost in one person alone all that I can lose in 
this world : and if it were not that I know, according 
to the faith I hold, that God sends to us that which is 
best and wisest, I know not what would become of me. 
But this thought, and this alone, makes me suffer my 
grief with utter resignation to the will of God ; and I 
must confess to you that I have needed much help 
from on high to bring me to bear this cross patiently. 
I wanted to ask you to pray to God very earnestly for 
me in this dire trouble, and to aid me in asking Him 
to grant me grace to offer up this sorrow to Him, and 
take advantage of it for my own salvation.' 2 

1 Life of Sor Maria de Agreda, quoted by Father Florez. 

2 Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda, edited by F. 
Silvela. For two years after Isabel's death all comedies and theatrical 
representations were forbidden at the instance of Sor Maria, but in 
1648 Philip consented to their resumption. 


A^ yet more terrible trial for him came two years 
later; and a yet more heart-broken appeal to the nun 
for prayers, and to God to save him from rebellion 
against his hard fate, burst from the King's breaking 
heart when his only son died in his budding manhood, 
anoMeft Phjlip,aged by suffering, to face matrimony 
again for the sake oMeaving an heir to the crown of 
sorrow that was weighing him dowri. 

Isabel of Bourbon died bravely, as she had lived. 
She was a Frenchwoman, married to bring ahnnt g 
friendship between_Jjj2Ji^ajn^ Spin, and the- two 
countries were at war continually from the time that^ 
ho* marriage was completed to the day of her dearth 
In her time the sun of Spain sank as surely as the day 
onPVance brightened, and yet she never gloriedjnTHe 
triumph of the land of her birth, and kept faithful to 
the end to the Spain which she loved so well. It 
would be unfair to credit her with so clear and high a 
soul as either of the previous Isabels ; but hers was 
a brave, sturdy, heart that accepted things as they 
were if she was unable to mend them ; and, like her 
father before her, she enjoyed herge1f_g^j[rmc]h as she 
could whilst doing- her duty valiantly_^nd_welL_ 





So long as Prince Baltasar lived Philip resisted all 
pressure that he should take another wife. The 
spring and summer were spent in Aragon, in the 
now almost despairing attempt to win back his 
dominions from the French. Approaches for his 
own marriage were made by various interests, but 
always gently put aside with a reference to his hopes 
being now centred in his son, whom he kept at his 
side and instructed him in the business of govern- 
ment. With a wretched lack of material resources 
his attempts to recover Catalonia were fruitless. One 
defeat followed another with wearisome reiteration, 
and as disaster deepened Philip became more moody 
and devout ; his one adviser and confidant being the 
nun of Agreda, and his one resource agonised prayer. 
When his boy fell ill in May 1646, at Pamplona in 
Navarre, on his way to the seat of war, Philip's 
invocations to heaven for his safety were almost 
terrible in their intensity. J The lad recovered ; and 
when he arrived with his father at Saragossa in July, 
the imperial ambassadors were awaiting them to offer 
JQ marriage to the heir of Spain his first cousin, the 
Archduchess Mariana ot Austria, tEe daughter ot tne 

Philip could look nowhere else for an alliance. 

1 ' Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda y Felipe iv. J 
Edited by Silvela. 



France was his deadly enemy, though it was governed 
by his sister Anna as regent, and a further marriage 
experiment in that direction was out of the question 
at present, even if there had been an available French 
princess. 1 The Emperor and Spain, on the other 
hand, had beef^-to Spain's ruin fighting shoulder 
to^sHoiilder throughout the whole of the thirty years' 
war; now dragging to its conclusion, and the treaty 
Was promptly signed for the marriage of Baltasar, 
aged seventeen, with Mariana of Austria, three years 
younger. With regard to their betrothal, Philip wrote 
to the nun thus : ' My sister, the Empress, having 
died, I consider it advisable to draw closer the ties 
between the Emperor and ourselves in this way, my 
principal aim being the exaltation of the faith ; for it 
is certain that the more intimate the two branches 
of our house are, so much the firmer will religion 
stand throughout Christendom.' 

Only two months later, early in October, the blow 
fell, and thejmnce diedMofsmallpox' Whilst he lay 
iir~Tfr(T distracted father wroteTrahtically to his cor- 
respondent, crying for God's mercy to save him from 
this last trial. But when the boy had died the King's 
letters assumed a tone of dull despair. God had not 
heard his prayers, and he supposed it was for the 
best. He had done everything to dedicate this grief 
to God ; but his heart was pierced, and he knew not 
whether he lived or dreamed. He was resigned, he 
said, but feared his constancy, and so on ; each phrase 

1 Marie Anne de Montpensier, the daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orleans 
(La Grande Demoiselle), was suggested, but rejected at once as impossible, 
both from the French and Spanish point of view ! It would, indeed, 
have further alienated, rather than have drawn together, the French 
regency and Spain. 


revealing a heart that almost doubted the efficacy of 
prayer, and the goodness of the Almighty. 1 

Thenceforward, for a time, his conduct changed. 
He had done his best and had not spared himself. 
He had prayed night and day, and had fashioned his 
life according to monastic counsels. But defeat, 
trouble, poverty^ and- bereavement had fallen upon 
Kimjn spite of all, and Philip, in the intervals of his 
poignant contrition, plunged into dissolute excesses 
that shocked and scandalised the devotees about him. 
PhiHp_^was_Jorty_ : two, about the age when some of 
his forbears had developed that strain of mystic 
devotion that so nearly borders madness. He had 
no male heir, and only one tiny daughter of eight, 
and his troubles and excesses had prematurely aged 
him. All Spain demanded of him a man child to 
succeed to his greatness; and the remonstrances ~bf 
tfiie criurchmen and the nuns at the scandal of his 
life were reinforced by the Emperor's ambassadors, 
who urged that he should marry , the girl-niece who 
had been BetTOthed"to"hTs'dead son. 

And so history repeated itself; and, as in the case 
of his grandfather, Philip IL, the King accepted for 
his^ wife the Austrian princess who had been destined 
for_his daughter-in-law. Of his many illegitimate 
children he had only legitimised one, Don Juan 
Jose of Austria, the son of the actress Maria Calderon. 
He was brilliant and handsome, and had won his 
father's regard ; but he could never be King of Spain ; 
and Philip, with little enthusiasm, wedded an im- 
mature girl for the sake of giving an heir to his 
country, and for the maintenance of the solidarity^pf 
the house of Austria, which typified the old impossible 

1 ' Cartas de la Venerable Madre Sor Maria de Agreda y Felipe IV.' 


claim of Spain to dictate the religion of the world. 
It^vyas a disastrous resolve, which ensured the con- 
summation of ruin to the country and the cause which 
it was intended to benefit. - 

Philip was , straining every nerve against the French 
in Catalonia and Flanders; he was, to the extent of 
his ability, attacking the Portuguese on the eastern 
frontier; and his kingdom of Naples was in full 
revolt. The long^war had exhausted him, as it had 
exhausted all Europe : he had, to his own destruction, 
fought the battles of religion in central Europe by 
the side of the Emperor for many years ; and his 
newjnarriage was intended to fasten the Emperor 
to him in the cause of Spain. The powerlessness of 
marriage bonds to resist political forces was once more 
proved before Philip saw his bride. The Treaty of 
Westphalia (October 1648) was finally~~signed, and 
Spain, which had suffered most in the war, sacrificed 
mosTirTlfTe "peace! The religlous^questioh Fn Germany 
was settle? for good, ancT the dream of CBarles~vTwas 
finall)T~clissipated : the independence of Holland, the 
point which had dragged Spain down and keptHier 
at warHfbT nearly a hundred years, was recognised at 
last, out of sheer impotence for further struggle by 
Philip. Alsace went to France, and Pomerania to 
Sweden : the centraT European powers were satisfied : 
there was nothing more for the Emperor to fight for, 
and Spain was left face to face alone with her enemy 
France, and without the imperial co-operation for which 
Philip had paid so dear. 

With ceremonies and pomp which would be tedious 
to relate the young princess left Vienna on the 1 3th 
November 1648, travelling slowly by coach with her 
brother, the King of Hungary, towards Trent, where 


the representatives of Philip were to take charge of 
the new Queen. Endless festivities were held at 
Trent and the Italian cities, 1 and simultaneously in 
Madrid. Illuminated streets, bull-fights, and palace- 
revels, which Philip attended with dull hopeless face 
and heavy heart, celebrated the announcement of the 
nuptials, coinciding in time with the rejoicings for 
the recovery of Naples by the diplomacy of young 
Don Juan of Austria, Philip's son, in the winter of 
1648. But it was well into the autumn (4th Sep- 
tember) of 1649 before the bride and her Spanish 
household of one hundred and sixty nobles at length 
landed at Denia in the kingdom of Valencia. 

At Navalcarnero, a small village some fifteen miles 
from Madrid, the great cavalcade arrived on the 6th 
October 1 649 ; and there it was arranged that Philip 
should first meet his bride. 2 For months he had been 
writing by every post to the nun, deploring and repent- 
ing his inability to resist the temptations of the flesh, 
and ascribing to his sins the wars, pestilence and 
misery that were scourging his beloved people. With 
such qualms of conscience as this it must have been 
welcome to him weary voluptuary though he was 
to enter into a licit union, which, at least, might rescue 
him from temptation. Disguised, he watched his bride 
enter Navalcarnero, and then went to lodge in another 

1 The progress and events from day to day are related by Mascarenhas, 
Bishop of Leyria, who accompanied the Queen, in ' Viage de la Sereni- 
sima Reina Dona Margarita de Austria. 5 Madrid, 1650. 

2 It has puzzled many inquirers why the marriages of the kings of 
Spain should usually have taken place in poverty-stricken little villages 
like Navalcarnero and Quintanapalla, where no adequate accommodation 
existed, or could be created. The real reason appears to be that when 
a royal marriage took place in a town the latter was freed for ever after 
from paying tribute. The poorer the place, therefore, the smaller the 
sacrifice of public revenue. 


village before paying his formal visit to her a day after- 
wards. Mariana was just fifteen, a strong, passionate, 
full-blooded girl with a hard heart. On her way from 
Denia the mistress of the robes, the Countess of 
Medellin, had gravely remonstrated with her for laugh- 
ing at the buffoons, who sought to amuse her, and 
had schooled her in the etiquette that forbade a Queen 
of Spain to walk in public. But Mariana made light 
of such prudery, and in the insolence of her gaiety 
and youth went her own way, laughing her fill at the 
comedy played before her at Navalcarnero, to while 
away the time until supper. 

The King and Queen met for the first time in the 
little oratory where their marriage was to be confirmed 
by the Archbishop of Toledo, and then, after more 
comedies and bullfights, the royal pair proceeded to 
the Escorial, lit up for the occasion by 1 1,000 lights, to 
pass the first days of their honeymoon. From the 
Retiro on the i5th November Mariana made her state 
entry into Madrid. The capital surpassed itself in its 
signs of rejoicing, for Philip was extremely popular 
and his subjects yearnejISuijaJLheir^to the throne. We 
are told that the whole distance from the Retiro to the 
old palace, from one end of Madrid to the other, the 
way was spanned by arches of flowers, whilst monu- 
mental erections with devices of welcome were placed 
at each principal point. 1 The Queen rode a snow- 
white palfrey ; and as she smiled her frank gratified 
smile to the lieges they welcomed her for her rosy, 
painted cheeks and red pouting lips, knowing little the 
cold selfish heart that beat beneath the buxom bosom. 

Philip was too busy for weeks in the delights of his 

1 It is all described in Amador de los Rios Historia de Madrid, and the 
prodigious sums spent are given. 


honeymoon to write to his confidante the nun, pre- 
sumably also because the sins he so deeply deplored, 
and so constantly repeated, did not tempt him during 
the first weeks of his married life. But when, on the 
r 7th November, he found time to write, he expresses 
the utmost satisfaction at his bride. ' I confess to you,' 
he says, ' that I know not how I can thank our Lord 
sufficiently for the mercy he has shown to me in giving 
me such a companion ; for all the qualities I have 
hitherto recognised in my niece are great, and I find 
myself exceedingly content, and full of a desire to prove 
myself not ungrateful for so singular a mercy by chang- 
ing my mode of life and submitting myself in all things 
to His will.' 1 The nun in answer to this urged the King 
to live well in his new condition, ' trying earnestly that 
the Queen shall have all your attention and regard, 
instead of your Majesty casting your eyes on other 
objects strange and curious.' All Spain, the nun con- 
tinues, is yearning for an heir, and her own prayers 
are ceaseless to that end. 

Philip was full of good resolves. He would never 
go astray again ; but, though he was as anxious for a 
son as his people were, he was in doubt yet as to his 
new wife's having arrived at sufficient maturity to have 
children : ' although others of her age, which is fifteen 
years, can do so. But it is easy for our Lord to remedy 
this, and I hope in His mercy that He will do it.' 2 In 
the meanwhile, the depositary of all these hopes, 
Mariana, was diverting^ herself^as best she could in 
girjishromps with her step-daughter of ten, who seems 
to have been Tier constant companion. Philip, in writ- 
ing of them, generally speaks of them as 'the girls,' 
and frequently mentions Mariana's joy at shows and 

1 Cartas de Sor Maria. * Ibid. 


gaiety. Once more the Buen Retire rang with light 
laughter. Comedies and masquerades were again the 
constant diversion of the Court, though pestilence was 
scourging the land, Catalonia and Portugal defied 
the arms of Spain, and the French in Flanders still 
held the armies of Philip at bay. Pleasure, the joy of 
living, absorbed the young Queerfs" attention ; and 
afteT'Th^irrsrtelv^onths of marriage, Philip usually 
refers to her somewhat wearily, and only with reference 
to her enjoyments or to his hopes of progeny. After 
one disappointment a child was born in July 1651, a 
girl, who was christened with the usual unrestrained 
spleTTclour by the name of Maria Margaret 1 Again 
high~~rT6pes were entertained in due time, only to be 
disappointed, and Mariana fell into melancholy ; for 
Philip had relapsed into his bad habits again, notwith- 
stanoTng his vows and resolves, and_he. -delay in the 
coming of a son increased his coldness towards his wife. 
A frenzied round of gaiety at the Buen Retiro did some- 
thing to arouse the Queen out of her depression, 2 but 
Philip had now but little pleasure in his old love for 
glittering shows ; for the prayed for son came not, and 
war and pestilence still scourged Spain, as he firmly 
believed for his own personal backsliding. 

The life of the palace had settled down to utter 
monotony. Philip, immersed in business ; ' with his 
pen always in his hand/ as he says, had little time for 
frivolity. His demeanour in public was like that of a 
statue, and when he received ministers or deputations 
it was noticed that no muscle of his face moved but 
his lips. Every movement was settled beforehand ; 
and it was possible to foretell a year in advance exactly 

1 In course of time she married her cousin the Emperor Leopold. 

2 * Reinas Catolicas.' Florez. 


where the Court would be on a given day, and what 
the King would be doing at a certain hour. Mariana 
lived in her own way, with little show of affection for 
her elderly husband, or for the people amongst whom 
she lived. She had fallen by this time (1657) into the 
stiff etiquette of the Spanish Court, and in the intervals 
of her hoydenish merriment she displayed a haughtiness 
as great as that of Philip himself without his under- 
lying tenderness or his pathetic resignation. She was 
Germanin all her sympathies, and soon lost the love 
of Spaniards that had been gained by the freshness~of 
her youth. 1 Dressed in the tremendous triple-hooped 
farthingale ; with her stiff, squarely arranged wig, and 
her full painted cheeks, she presented a sufficiently 
dignified appearance in public ; but her flat, unamiable 
face, hard, weary eyes, and bulging jaw, gave her a 
look which repelled rather than attracted. 

The outward prudery of her Court barely veiled a 
state ol atrocious immorality amongst all classes. It 
walTcorrsidered almost a reproach for any of the ladies, 
all widows or unmarried, who were attached to the 
palace service by hundreds, to have no extravagant 
gallant ready to ruin himself for her caprices ; and, as 
a natural consequence, assassination was rife in the 
capital ; and the news letters of the time are full of 
scandalous stories, in which nobles, ladies and actresses 
are concerned disgracefully. Corruption reigned more 
impudently than ever, and whilst ships were rotting oil 
theTDeach, ancT unpaid soldiers were starving in the 
midst of war, vast sums were spent on foolish shows 
and revelry. Philip now had little pleasure in it all, 

J Even thus early she began to introduce Austrian etiquette in her 
receptions ; such, for instance, as causing the ladies presented to her to 
pass before her, in by one door and out by an opposite door ("Avisos de 

2 A 


going through it like a leaden automaton, only to 
torture himself with remorse afterwards, but withal, 
habit or mere weakness led him to allow such scandals 
as the imposition of a tax upon oil to pay for the new 
stage at the Buen Retiro, and the robbing of the shrine 
of the venerated Virgin of Atocha of a great silver 
chandelier for the illumination of the theatre. 1 

In September 1654 it was announced that Mariana 
was again pregnant. * God grant that it may be so,' 
wrote a courtier : ' but if it is going to be a girl it is of 
no use to us. We do not want any of them. There 
are plenty of women already.' 2 The King's hopes 
rose that a son would at last be born to him, and 
Mariana insisted upon accompanying him everywhere ; 
for in the intervals of her merrymaking she was a prey 
to deep melancholy, increased when a girl infant was 
born only to die a few daysjilterwards. Theprognos- 
tications of astrologers and quacks decided in the 
summer of 1655 that the prayed-for son was now 
really on the way ; and as time went on unheard of 
preparations were made for the event. The Marquis 
of Heliche had twenty-two new comedies written 
ready for representation in the coming festivities, and 
large sums of money were spent in decorations before- 
hand. Mariana's lightest caprice was law, and Philip 
hardly left her side. The old palace depressed her, 
and the Buen Retiro became her permanent abode ; 
Don Juan of Austria sent from Flanders the most 
wonderful tapestries, and bed and bed furniture ever 
seen, with a vast bedstead of gilt bronze which cost a 
fortune ; the bedroom furniture being a mass of seed 
pearl and gold embroidery upon satin. * There is no 

1 Avisos de Barrionuevo, vol. ii. p. 303 (February 1656). 

2 Ibid. vol. i. 


getting the Queen out of the Retiro, for she frets in 
the palace. She passes the mornings amongst her 
flowers, the days in feastings, and the nights in farces. 
All this goes on incessantly, and I do not know how 
so much pleasure does not pall upon her.' l But again 
the prophets were wrong, for in December another 
epileptic girl child was bomjindjclied : ' Saint Gaetano 
notwithstanding.' 2 

Mariana fell gravely ill after this, and a slight stroke 
of paralysis, amongst other ailments, kept her for many 
weeks hovering between life and death. Philip did 
his best to raise her spirits, and when the Cortes 
petitioned him to have his elder daughter Maria 
Theresa acknowledged as heiress, he refused, in order 
not to distress his wife, who, he said, would be sure to 
have an heir directly. His letters to the nun show that 
he, at this period, was himself in the depths of black 
despair, overborne by his troubles ; for Cromwell had 
seized Jamaica, and Spain was at war by sea and land 
with England and France together. Whilst Philip 
was gratifying his young wife by such entertainments 
as looking on from concealed boxes in a theatre crowded 
with women, whilst a hundred rats were surreptitiously 
let loose upon the floor ; 3 hewas_aprey to a morbid 
misery closely akin^to madness t anticip'afmg an-ear4y 
death, weeping for the utter ruin that enveloped him 
arfcTSpjim, andjhejabsence of a malejieir. 

Une of his strange whims at this time was to pass 
hours alone in the new jasper mausoleum at the 


1 Barrionuevo, vol. ii. 

2 The comedy of San Gaetano had been represented at the special 
desire of the Queen shortly before, not without some difficulty from the 
Inquisition, and the crush to see it was so great that several people were 

1 Barrionuevo, vol. ii. 308 


Escorial, to which the bodies of his ancestors had just 
been transferred. He wrote after one of these visits in 
1654 : ' I saw the corpse of the Emperor whose body, 
although he has been dead ninety-six years, is still 
perfect, and by this is seen how the Lord has repaid 
him for his efforts in favour of the faith whilst he 
lived. It helped me much : particularly as I con- 
templated the place where I am to lie, when God 
shall take me. I prayed Him not to let me forget 
what I saw there ; ' I and shortly after this another 
contemporary records that the King passed two 
solitary hours on his knees on the bare stones of 
the mausoleum before his own last resting-place in 
prayer ; and that when he came out his eyes were red 
and swollen with weeping. 2 

Again, in August 1656, a girl child was born to 
Mariana only to die the same day, and then depression, 
utter and profound, fell upon Philip and his wife, for 
rny ray of light came from any direction. There was 
no money for the most ordinary needs. Trie Indian 
treasures were regularly captured by the English, who 
closely invested Cadiz itself, whilst the French on the 
Flanders frontier and in Catalonia worked their will 
almost without impeachment, and the Portuguese 
defied their old sovereign. Philip was ready to make 
peace almost at any sacrifice, at least with the. French ; 
but the demands of Mazarin were as yet too humiliat- 
ing for a power which had claimed for so long the 
predominance in Europe. At length, in the midst 
of the distress, hope dawned once more, and again the 
wiseacres predicted that this time the Queen would 
give birth to a son. Mariana's every fancy was grati- 

1 Cartas de la Venerable Sor Maria de Agreda. 

2 Barrionuevo, vol. iii. 63. 


fied. 1 Water parties on the lake at the Retire, endless 
farces, as usual, capricious bull feasts, and diversions 
of all sorts, kept up her spirits ; and Don Juan sent 
another sumptuous bed and furniture more splendid 
than the previous gift. Whilst this waste was going 
on in one direction, taxes were bemg piled up In a 
way that made them unproductive, and such was~tRe 
penury in the King's palace that Philip himself, on the 
vigil of the Presentation of the Virgin (2Oth November 
1657), had nothing to eat but eggs without fish, as his 
stewards had not a real of ready money to pay for 
anything (Barrionuevo). Exactly a week after the 
King was reduced to such straits, the child of his 
prayers arrived. An heir was born at last to the 
weary man of fifty-two, whose crown was crushing 

Madrid as usual went crazy with turbulent rejoicing, 
whilst Mariana in the gravest danger battled for her 
life. Every bench and table in the palace, we are 
told, was broken, and no eating house or tavern in the 
town escaped sacking by the crowd of idle rogues who 
marched with music and singing, whilst they stripped 
decent people even of their garments to pay for their 
orgy. 2 Later, there were the usual bull fights, masquer- 
ades, and the eternal comedies with new stage effects ; 
and not a noble in Castile failed to go and congratulate 
the King. Astrologists were to the fore, as usual, 
foretelling by the stars that the newly born babe would 
grow up to be wise, prudent and brave, and would 
outlive all his brothers and sisters in a prosperous 

1 One day (8th November 1657) she suddenly asked for some Bunuelos 
(hot fritters), and men were sent out hurrying to the Plaza where they were 
sold. A great cauldron of 8 Ibs. of them were brought smoking hot covered 
with honey, and Mariana ate greedily of them, to her great contentment. 

2 Barrionuevo. 


fortunate career. The proud father was full of grati- 
tude to the Most High for the signal favour conferred 
upon him. ' Help me, Sor Maria,' he wrote to the 
nun, 'to give thanks to Him ; for I myself am unable 
to do so adequately : and pray Him to make me duly 
grateful, and give me strength henceforward to do His 
holy will. The new-born child is well, and I implore 
you take him under your protection, and pray to our 
Lord and His holy mother to keep him for their service, 
the exaltation of the faith and the good of these realms. 
And if this is not to be, then pray let him be taken 
from me before he comes to man's estate.' I 

Philip, like his courtiers, went into rhapsodies of 
admiration of the beauty and perfection of the infant 
that had been born to him. So fair an angel surely 
never had been seen than this poor epileptic morsel 
of humjmity from whom so patheticaljy_j"nuch was, 
expected. On the 6th December Philip rode in State 
on a great Neapolitan horse through the streets of 
Madrid, to give thanks to the Virgin of Atocha for 
the boon vouchsafed to him, and the capital began its 
round of official rejoicings. Fountains ran wine, music 
and dancing went on night and day, mummers in 
strange disguise promenaded the streets in procession, 
bullfights and the usual tiresome buffoonery testified 
that Madrid shared with the King his delight that an 
heir had been born to him. 2 Philip himself was in high 

1 Cartas de la Venerable Sor Maria de Agreda. The King's prayer 
came true, for the child died at the age of four. 

2 The extravagance of these rejoicings produced a remonstrance from 
the nun to the King. ' It is good and politic for your Majesty to receive 
the congratulations of your subjects . . . but I do beseech you earnestly 
not to allow excessive sums to be spent on these festivities when there is 
a lack of money needful even for the defence of your crown. Let there 
be in them no offence to God. . . . It is good to rejoice for the birth of 
the prince, but let us do it with a clear conscience.' Cartas. 


good humour, bandying jests with his favourite, Don 
Luis de Haro ; and, at the brilliant ceremony of the 
christening of Prince Philip Prosper, a week later, 
which he witnessed hidden behind the closed jalousies 
of his pew, he was proudly pleased at the vigorous 
squalls of the infant. * Ah ! ' he whispered to Haro, 
4 that's what I like to hear, there is something manly 
in that.' J It was fortunate for Philip that he could 
not foresee that this babe for whom he had prayed so 
fervently would be snatched from him four years later, 
stricken by the calamity of its descent ; and that the 
later child that would succeed him, the offspring of 
incest too, would end the line of the great Emperor in 
decrepit imbecility, matching sadly with the decadence 
of his country. 

Whilst the continued and costly celebrations of the 
Queen's tardy recovery after the birth of her sickly 
childlvere scandalising the thoughtful, national affairs 
were going from bad to worse. 2 Don Luis de ITaTo, 
Philip's prime minister, had started in January 1658 
to relieve Badajoz, closely invested by the masculine 
Queen of Portugal, herself a Spaniard, and had been 
disgracefully routed by the despised Portuguese. This 

1 Barrionuevo. A curious circumstance is related by the same journalist 
as having taken place at the christening. The lady-in-waiting, as usual, 
handed the child to the little Infanta Margaret, aged six, who was the 
godmother ; and the only clothing the babe wore was an extremely short 
tunic, the lower limbs being entirely bare. The little Infanta, shocked at 
what she considered disrespectful neglect, asked angrily why the prince 
was not properly dressed ; and had to be told that it was done purposely 
in order that all might see that he was really a male. 

2 Barrionuevo relates (vol. iv. p. 166), that a saintly Franciscan friar, 
upon being appealed to by Philip to pray for the health of his child, 
replied that he would do so, but a better prayer still would be for the 
King to give up his constant comedies and rejoicings and pray to God 
himself. This was in June 1658 ; and the nun was for ever giving to 
Philip the same advice. 


was a humiliation that proved to the world the com- 
plete impotence of Spain : but in June of the same 
year a more damaging blow still was dealt at the 
power that had held its head so high in the past. 
The battle of the Dunes, or Dunkirk, in which Don 
Juan, Conde and the Duke of York on the Spanish 
side were pitted against Turenne, aided by the troops 
of Cromwell, was a crushing defeat for Philip's forces, 
and placed all Flanders at the mercy of the French. 
It was clear that Philip could fight no longer, for 
Spain had well nigh bled to death ; and so great was 
trie depopulation of Castile that a project was adopted 
though not carried out for lack of money --to 
re-people the country with Irish and Dalmatian 

TherejyejgjQthgr circumstances that tended towards 
peace besides the exhaustion of^Spain. " The long 
years of war had told heavily upon the resources of 
France : the Catalans by this time had grown heartily 
tired of their French king Stork, and were yearning 
for the~re"turn of their Spanish king-. Log ; and, above 
all, Mazarin had long cast covetous eyes on the 
Spanish succession, in the very probable case of 
Philip's issue by his second wife failing. For years 
the Queen-regent, Anna of Austria, had been striving 
for peace with her brother, but circumstances and 
national pride had always defeated her. The efforts 
of the Emperor's agents in Madrid, aided very power- 
fully by Mariana, had also been exerted to prevent 
a close agreement between France and Spain. In 
1656 M. de Lionne had been sent secretly by Mazarin 
to Madrid, where he passed many months in close 
conference with Luis de Haro, endeavouring, but 
without success, to negotiate peace. 


In one of their meetings Haro wore in his hat, as 
an ornament, a medal impressed with the portrait of 
the Infanta Maria Theresa, Philip's daughter by his 
first wife. ' If your King would give to my master 
for a wife the original of the portrait you wear,' said 
Lionne, duly instructed by Mazarin, ' peace would 
soon be made.' Nothing more was said at the time, 
for, in the absence of a son, Philip dared not marry 
the heiress of Spain to his nephew Louis xiv., but 
when an heir was born to Mariana, the idea of a 
marriag^n5etwe"erT~Maria Theresa and Louis xiv. at 
^once became realisable. The Austrian interest still 
stood in the way ; and Mariana, who was as purely 
an ambassador for Eer brother as his accredited 
diplomatic representative waSj^sed all her efforts ta 
frustrate the plan ; and a marriage was actively ad- 
vocated by her between the Infanta and Leopold^ the 
heir of the empire. Philip for a long time allowed 
himself to incline to the Austrian connection that had 
already cost him so dear. 

As soon as the French match looked promising^-as 
a result of much secret intrigue between Mazarin and 
Haro, the Emperor offered to Philip a great army in 
Flanders to aid in expelling the French ; and when 
Philip was hesitating between the persuasions of his 
wife Mariana, and her kinsmen on the one hand, and 
the ^pressure of poverty on the other, which made a 
continuance o_the war difficult for hSn^ Mazarin 
played a trump card which won the game. "TGouis 
was taken ostentatiously to Lyons to woo the Princess 
Of Savoy ; and, in fear of a coalition against Sam, 
Philip sent his minister Haro to negotiate peace with 
MazarirT personally On '"the banks^pfthe Bidasoa. 
During all the autumn of 1659, on the historic Isle 


of Pheasants in the river, the keen diplomatists fought 
over details ; and often their labours seemed hopeless, 
for the Spaniards were as proud as ever and the 
French as greedy. But the frail health of the puling 
babe, who alone stood between the Infanta and the 
Spanish succession, at length made Mazarin more 
yielding : the last great obstacle, the restoration of 
Conde's forfeited estates, was overcome, and one of the 
most fateful treaties in history was settled. 

It was still a bitter pill for Spain, for she lost much 
of her Flemish territory and the county of Roussillon ; 
but, at least, she regained Catalonia, and, above^all, 
secured peace with France. The Infanta was to marry 
Louis XIV., and 'the Spaniards insisted that she should 
renounce for ever her claim to the succession of her 
father's crown, though Mazarin made the clause In- 
effective by stipulating that the renunciation should 
be conditional upon the entire payment of the dowry 
of 500,000 crowns, which, it was more than probable, 
Philip could never pay. 1 In the meanwhile Mariana 
had borne another son, who died in his early inlancy ; 
and at the pompous embassy of the Duke de Gram- 
mont to Madrid, formally to ask for the hand of the 
Infanta, she took little pains to appear amiable to an 
embassy which she looked upon as bringing a defeat 
for her and her family. 

A vivid picture of her and her husband at one of 
the great representations at the theatre of the old 
palace is given by a follower of Grammont, who wrote 
an account of the embassy. 2 'The great saloon,' he 
says, ' was lit only by six great wax candles in gigantic 

1 ' Recueil des Instructions donndes aux ambassadeurs de France en 
Espagne,' vol. i. (Morel-Fatio.) 

2 'Journal du Voyage d'Espagne.' Paris, 1669. 


stands of silver. On both sides of the saloon, facing 
each other, there are two boxes or tribunes with iron 
grilles. One of these was occupied by the Infantas 
and some of the courtiers, whilst the other was destined 
for the Marshal (Grammont). Two benches covered 
with Persian rugs ran along the sides facing each 
other, and upon these some twelve of the ladies of 
the court sat, whilst we Frenchmen stood behind them. 
. . . Then the Queen and the little Infanta entered, 
preceded by a lady holding a candle. When the King 
appeared he saluted the ladies, and took his seat in 
the box on the right hand of the Queen, whilst the 
little Infanta sat on her left. The King remained 
motionless during the whole of the play, and only 
once said a word to the Queen, although he occasion- 
ally cast his eyes round on every side. A dwarf was 
standing close by him. When the play was finished 
all the ladies rose and gathered in the middle, as 
canons do after service. They then joined hands, and 
made their courtesies, a ceremony that lasted seven 
or eight minutes ; for each lady made her courtesy 
separately. In the meanwhile the King was standing, 
and he then bowed to the Queen, who in her turn 
bowed to the Infanta, after which they all joined hands 
and retired.' 

In April 1660 Philip bade farewell to Mariana and 
set forth on this famous journey to the French frontier, 
to ratify the peace of the Pyrenees_jvvith his sister 
A^n^ of Austria, whom lie had not seen since their 
early youth more than forty years before, and to give 
hisdaughter in marriage to the young King_oFVance. 
P fiffip, for the sake of economy, had Bordered that as 
small a train as possible should accompany him ; but, 
withal, so enormous was his following and that of his 


nobles, : with the huge stores of provisions and baggage, 
that his cavalcade covered over twenty miles of road. 
Slowly winding its way at the rate of only about six 
miles a day through the ruined land, greeted by the 
poor hollow-eyed peasants that were left with tearful 
joy, because it meant peace, the King's procession at 
last arrived at the seat of so many royal pageants, 
the banks of the Bidasoa, early in June. Upon the 
tiny eyot in mid-river, the temporary palace that in 
the previous year had been the meeting-place of Haro 
and Mazarin, still remained intact; and here the sumptu- 
ous ceremony was performed that gave to Louis xiv. 
the custody of his future wife, Maria Theresa. 2 

What all the courtiers wore, and how they looked, 
is described ad nauseum by French and Spanish 
spectators ; but the greatest man in all the host, upon 
the Spanish side at least, was the King's quarter- 
master, whose exquisite taste and knowledge directed 
the artistic details of the pageant, Diego de Silva 
Velazquez, whose garments may be described as a 
specimen of the rest. His dress was of dark material, 
entirely covered by close Milanese silver embroidery, 
and he wore around his neck the golilla that had 
replaced the ruff, at the instance of Philip many years 
before, to save the waste of starching. 3 Upon his 
cloak was embroidered the great red floreated sword- 
like cross of Santiago, and at his side he wore a sword 
in a finely wrought silver scabbard ; whilst around his 

1 Luis de Haro alone took a household of 200 persons, whilst the King's 
medical staff alone consisted of ten doctors and four barbers. 

2 ' Viage del Key N. S. a la Frontera de Francia. 3 Castillo. Madrid, 

3 The golilla, so characteristic of Philip's reign, was a stiff cardboard 
projecting collar, the under surface of which was covered with cloth to 
match the doublet, and the upper surface lined with light silk. 


neck there hung a heavy gold chain from which 
depended a small diamond scutcheon with the same 
cross enamelled in red upon it. 1 

The restoration of the Stuarts in England soon 
after the ratification of the Treaty of the Pyrenees, 
madeji rjeace easy of negotiation between their country 
anc^ Spain, anj^bythe_begjnning of 1661, Philip fnrmd 
KTmsp]fJnrVhg finaPtinng in fr reign offorty years at 
peace withjdl the powers outsidejhg PenrnsjjJaT"" 

BuTrerJellious Portugal had still to be reconquered. 
Again disaster befell the Spaniards. Don Juan, the 
King's son, was utterly routed at AmegTal after some 
partial successes ; for Mariana' had been busily Tn- 
trigumg against him, and had caused the re- 
inforcement and resources he asked for to be denied 

Whilst Don Juan was struggling against the 
Portuguese and their English abettors with inadequate 
forces and ineffectual heroism^ Philip wassmking 
deeper into the morbid devotional misery that afflictecl 
in their decline so many of his race. His only son, 
Philip Prosper, after a life of Tour years of almost 
constant sickness, was snatched from him early in 
November 1661, as a younger boy had been a year 
previously. The bereaved father, who had watcEed 
over his son's bed until the last, nearly lost heart at 
this heavy blow ; and was so much overcome, as he 
confesses, as to be unable even to write for a time to 
his one refuge, the nun of Agreda. When he did so, 
the usual self-accusing cry of agony went up ' I assure 
you,' he wrote, 'what troubles me most, much more 
even than my loss, is to see clearly that I have 

1 Palamino. Life of Velazquez. All the sumptuary decrees were 
suspended. From this date the Spanish fashion in dress changed. 


offended God, and that He sends all these sorrows as 
a punishment for my sins. I only wish I knew how 
to amend myself and comply entirely with His holy 
will. I am doing, and will do, all I can ; for I would 
rather lose my life than fail to do it. Help me, as a 
good friend, with your prayers, to placate the righteous 
anger of God, and to implore our Lord, who has seen 
good to take away my son, to bless the delivery of the 
Queen, which is expected every day, and to keep her 
in perfect health and the child that is to be born, if it 
be for his good service, for otherwise I desire it not. 
The Queen has borne this last blow with much sorrow 
but Christian resignation. I am not surprised at this, 
for she is an angel, Oh ! Sor Maria : if I had only 
carried out your doctrines, perhaps I should not find 
myself in this state/ 1 

A few days after this was written, Mariana once_ 
more bore a son, a weak, puling infant, that seemed 
threatened with an early death ; but whose birth 
tfirew Spain into a whirlwind of rejoicing as extra- 
vagant as any that had gone before. But Philip was 
sunk too deep now into despondency, by witchcraft 
the people said, to be aroused much, even by the birth 
of a son ; and, as the shadows fell around him, the 
power of Mariana grew. With her clever German 
Jesuit confessor and confidant, Father Everard Nithard, 
she soon managed to drag the unhappy King again 
into the vortex of imperial politics, that had already 
well-nigh wrecked Spain, by persuading him to 
maintain an army to aid Austria and Hungary against 
the incursions of the Turk. Mazarin had died soon 
after the peace of the Pyrenees, and the new advisers 
of Louis xiv. were already inciting him to retaliate for 

1 Cartas de Sor Maria. 


the Austrian rapprochement with Spain by fresh 
aggression upon Spanish Flanders. Don Juan, bitterly 
opposed to the new German interest in Spain, retired 
to his town of Consuegra in disgust and disgrace ; the 
French and English governmenis_a ( SSuniejd_a_tone_of 
dictatorial haughtiness towards Spain unheard before ; 
aricT Philip, in declining health and bitter disappoint- 
ment, could look nowhere now for help and solace : 
for his minister Haro was dead, and the saintly nun of 
Agreda, his refuge for so many years, also went to her 
rest in the spring of 1665. There was no one now at 
Philip's side but Mariana, already intriguing for un- 
coTTtfrolled power when her husband should die, and 
heFGerman confessor Nithard, whose one aim was to 
use what was left of Spanish resources for the ends of 

Others also were on the alert as to what would 
happen when Philip died, and Sir Richard Fanshawe 
was sent to Madrid by Charles n., partly to negotiate 
for the recognition of Portuguese independence ; and 
also : ' to employ his utmost skill and industry in 
penetrating and discovering under what model and 
form his Catholic Majesty designs to leave the govern- 
ment there, when it shall please God that he die, 
which, considering his great infirmity and weakness, 
may be presumed is already projected/ l When 
Philip first received Fanshawe in June 1664, he was 
so weak and weary that he could only ask him to put 
his speech on paper, 2 and thenceforward all Europe 
regarded the King as a dying man, whose work in the 
world was done. 

1 Original Letters of Sir R. Fanshawe. January 1664. 

2 An interesting account of this ceremony is given by Lady Fanshawe 
in her Memoirs. 


As Philip sank lower in despondency, the importance 
of Mariana rose. Lady Fanshawe gives an accounTof 
her interview with the Queen on the 27th June 1664, 
at the Buen Retiro, which_shows that Mariana was 
already regarded almost as the reigning sovereign : * I 
was received at the Buen Retiro by the guard, and 
afterwards, when I came up stairs, by the Marquesa de 
Hinojosa, the Queen's Camarera Mayor, then in wait- 
ing. Through an infinite number of people I passed 
to the Queen's presence, where her Majesty was 
seated at the upper end under a cloth of state upon 
three cushions, and on her left hand the Empress I upon 
three more. The ladies were all standing. After 
making my last reverence to the Queen, her Majesty 
and the Empress, rising up and making me a little 
curtsey, sat down again ; then I, by my interpreter, 
Sir Benjamin Wright, said those compliments that 
were due from me to her Majesty ; to which her 
Majesty made me gracious and kind reply. Then I 
presented my children, whom her Majesty received 
with great grace and favour. Then her Majesty, 
speaking to me to sit, I sat down upon a cushion laid 
for me, above all the ladies who sat, but below the 
Camarera Mayor ; no woman taking place (i.e. pre- 
cedence) of her Excellency but princesses. . . . Thus, 
having passed half an hour in discourse, I took my 
leave of her Majesty and the Empress ; making 
reverences to all the ladies in passing.' 2 Some months 
afterwards Queen Mariana sent to the English lady 
many messages of regard and esteem, with a splendid 

1 This was Mariana's daughter, the Infanta Margaret, so well recollected 
by Velazquez's portraits of her. She was at this time thirteen years old, 
and had just been betrothed to the Emperor Leopold, her cousin. She 
was married two years later, and died in 1673, at the age of twenty-two. 

2 Memoirs of Lady Fanshawe. 


diamond ornament worth ,2,000, which Lady Fan- 
shawe received with somewhat exaggerated professions 
of humility, and repeated her thanks to her in an 
interview soon after (8th April 1655). 

The total and final defeat of the Spaniards on the 
Portuguese frontier, in June 1665, made the recovery 
oflhe lost kingdom hopeless, and broke Philip's heart. 
H had written in the spring to the dying nun, saying 
that he desired no more health or life than was meet 
for God's service, and was ready to go when he was 
called. The call came in September 1665. His 
chronic malady had been aggravated tol?uch an extent 
by anxiety and worry, that by the middle of the month 
his physicians confessed themselves powerless. Then 
was enacted one of those ghastly farces common at 
the time in Spain. It was whispered in the palace 
that the King was bewitched, and the Inquisitor- 
General called a conference of ecclesiastics to consider 
the means for exorcising the evil spirits that held the 
sovereign in bondage. Philip himself gave permission 
for the Inquisitor to act as might be judged" best ; and 
one day the royal confessor, .briar Martinez, acom- 
panied by the Inquisitor-General, approached the sick- 
bed and demanded of the King a certain little wallet 
of relics and charms which he always wore suspended 
upon his breast. After examining these carefully the 
wallet was returned to the King, and from some clue 
therein contained, search elsewhere led to the dis- 
covery of an ancient black-letter book of magic, and 
certain prints of the King's portrait transfixed by pins. 
All these things were solemnly burnt after a service 
of exorcism by the Inquisitor-General at the chapel of 
Atocha ; and then, to assist the cure, the group of 

churchmen administered to the King, who was suffer- 

2 B 


ing from several mortal diseases, of which gall-stones 
caused the immediate danger, an elaborate confection 
of pounded mallow-leaves with drugs and sugar. 

This treatment aggravated the ill, and in two or 
three days the King appeared to be in articulo mortis, 
after what was described as a fit of apoplexy. The 
whole Court fell into momentary confusion, and the 
death-chamber was already deserted when the King 
revived and altered several of his testamentary dis- 
positions, one clause of which now appointed Mariana 
regent during the minority of her son. The^dlL by 
Philip's orders, was then locked into a leather purse 
with other impoTtant state papers, and the key, by the 
dying^ man's orders, was delivered to his wife. That 
afternoon, after taking th^ sacrament, Philip iVafieJa 
tearful farewell to Mariana, and blessed his two 
children. He then took an affectionate leave of the 
Duke of Medina de las Torres and other nobles, 
beseeching them with irrepressible tears to work har- 
moniously together, and help the widow and the poor 
child to whom his heavy heritage was passing. 

Philip struggled through the night in agony, and 
the next day the image of the Virgin of Atocha was 
carried past the windows of the palace to be deposited 
in the royal Convent of Barefoots hard by, whilst the 
dead bodies of St. Diego and St. Isidro were brought 
to the royal chapel for veneration ; * and every church 
and convent in Madrid resounded with rogations and 
processions for the health of the King. Around the 
bed of the dying monarch evil passions already raged \ 
folFthe Court was divided thus j^arly into two factions , 

1 It is related that when Philip was asked if the bodies of the saints 
should be brought into his room he said, ' No, they can intercede in my 
favour just as well in the chapel as here.' 


one in favour of Mariana and the other looking to 
Don Juan. The Duke of Medina de las Torres, the 
principal minister, retired from the palace as soon as 
he had taken leave ; and an unseemly wrangle, almost 
a fight, took place over the death-bed between rival 
friars, as to whether the viaticum might be adminis- 
tered or not, until they had to be bundled out of the 
room by the Marquis of Aytona. 

No sooner was this scene over than Count Castrillo 
entered the chamber and announced that Don Juan 
had come and was waiting to see his father. Philip 
knew, and bitter the knowledge was, that his wife and 
son would be in open strife from the day the breath 
left his body ; but that Don Juan should return from 
exile unbidHen, and dared to disobey his King, whilst 
yet he lived, aroused one more spark of sovereign 
indignation in the moribund man. * Tell him,' he 
said, ' to return whence he came until he be bidden. 
I will see him not ; for this is no time for me to do 
other than to die.' At early dawn on Friday, 1 7th 
September, poor Philip the Great breathed his last. 
* And curious it is,' said a contemporary courtier, ' that 
in the chamber of his Majesty when he died, there 
was no one but the Marquis of Aytona and two 
servants to weep for the death of their King and 
master. In all the rest of the court not one soul 
shed a tear for him. A terrible lesson is this for all 
humankind ; that a monarch who had granted such 
great favours and raised so many to honour, had no 
sigh breathed for him when he died.' 1 

1 As soon as Philip breathed his last the Marquis of Malpica, who was 
on duty as principal gentleman-in-waiting and captain of the guard, went 
to the outer guardroom, and said to the assembled officers : 'Companions, 
there is no more for us to do here. Go up and guard our King, Charles 
II.' Philip had died in one of the lower ground-floor rooms of the palace. 


The same night the dead body of the King was 
dressed in a handsome suit of brown velvet, embroidered 
and trimmed with silver, with the great red sword- 
cross of Santiago worked upon the breast, preparatory 
to the pompous lying-in-state in the same gilded hall 
of the old palace at Madrid, where the comedies the 
King had loved were so often played before him. 
At the same time in an adjoining room the Councils 
of Castile and State gathered to hear the will read 
by the secretary, Blasco de Loyola, which made 
Mariana Queen-Regent of Spain, with the assistance 
of a special council of regency, consisting of the great 
dignitaries of the State, failing two of whom the Queen 
might appoint two substitutes, an eventuality which 
partially occurred within a few hours of Philip's death 
by the decease of the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, 
Moscoso. Don Juan, who was commended to the 
widow in the will, waited to hear no more than the 
elevation of Mariana to the regency, and then took 
horse with all speed and hurried back to the safe 
seclusion of his fief of Ocana. A few days afterwards, 
the sumptuous lying-in-state being concluded, the 
body of ' Philip the Great ' was carried in a vast 
procession to the Escorial, to rest for ever in the 
jasper niche before which he had so often prayed 
and wept. 1 

The above account is condensed from a contemporary unpublished MS. 
journal of a courtier in the ' Biblioteca National,' c. xxiv. 4. Lady Fan- 
shawe also gives a very precise account of the lying-in-state, varying in 
some few details from the MS. narrative above referred to. 

1 My diarist gives another instance of the heartless conduct of the 
nobles after the King's death. When the body was to be transferred to 
the Escorial each of the chamberlains and officials insisted that it was 
not his duty to make the formal surrender, or to help to carry the corpse. 
The squabble was only ended by the Duke of Medina ordering his cousin 
Montealegre, to do it. 


Mariana, at the age of thirty-one, was now ml^r nf 
Spain for her son Charles if T) aged fnn^ and <shp 1nst 
no time in showing her tendencies when left to hersel f . 
The root of most of the calamities that affected Spain 
were the traditions that bound it to the imperial house. 
All that the country needed, even now, was rest^peace 
and freedom from foreign compl.i rations in whirh 
Spaniards had no real concern. But Mariana was 
Austrian to her finger tips ; and ever since Philip's 
health began to fail she had been ___worldqg_for the 
predominance of her kindred and weakening the bonds ' 
of friendship with France, knit by the marriage-,of 
Maria Theresa with Louis xiv. 

There was already a large party of nobles who, 
seeing the national need for peace, looked with dis- 
trust upon a policy which would still waste Spanish 
resources in fighting the battles of the empire in mid- 
Europe : and when to the vacancy in the Council of 
Regency and the Inquisitor-Generalship, caused by 
the death of Cardinal Moscoso a few hours after the 
King, Mariana appointed her Austrian confessor, 
Father Nithard, Spanish pride flared out and protest 
became general. Nithard was doubtless a worthy 
priest, though of no great ability, but if he had been 
a genius the same detestation of him would have pre- 
vailed, for he was a foreigner, and it was guessecLat 
oncejha between him and the Austnan_Oueen Spain \ 
wouldjjesacrificed as it had been in the past to objects 
that wet? not primarily Spanish. Observers abroad 
saw it too, and although the French envoy who went 
to condole with Mariana on Philip's death assured her 
of the desire of Louis to be friendly with her, the first 
acts of her regency gave to the French King a pretext 
for asserting his wife's right to the inheritance of 


Flanders, as her dowry had not been paid, and her 
renunciation was asserted to be invalid. 

In May 1667 Louis invaded Flanders with 50,000 
men, faced only by a small disaffected and unpaid 
force under the Spanish viceroy, the result being that 
the French overran the country and captured many 
principal cities. Don Juan was summoned in a hurry 
from his exile to trie" Council of-St-atc irr"Ma3K5Tlmd 
he"^and his^swQfn enemy Mariana divided Between 
them the sympathies of the capital and the country 
Pasquins and satires passed from hand to"~~hand on 
the Liars' Parade and in the Calle Mayor, mostly 
attacking Nithard and the Queen, who were blamed 
for the war ; and the relations between Don Juan and 
Mariana grew more strained every day. 

It was also evident now that Spain was powerless_to 
coeier~Portugal any longej*, and in February the 
humiliating treaty was signed mainly by the influence 
of Fanshawe * and Sandwich in February 1668, re- 
cognising the independence of the sister Iberian nation. 
Louis xiv. carried on his attacks in Flanders with 
vigour, and "rejected alTovertures of peace except on 
terms' which aroused Spaniards to indignation. The 
Spanish Franche Comte was occupied by the French 
in February 1668 ; and then, but only by a supreme 
effort, a fresh army of nine thousand men was collected 
in Spain to defend her territories. The Austrian 
friendship was of little use to Spain, as usual, and 
-Castile Tiad^once more to fight her own battle. In 
these circumstances of national peril the influence of 
Mariana and Nithard on the Council of Regency pro- 

1 Fanshavve died in Spain soon after his recall, Lord Sandwich re- 
placing him to conclude the treaty. See * Letters of Earl of Sandwich ' 
and ' Fanshawe's Letters.' London. 


cured an order for Don Juan to take command of 
army and lead it to Flanders against the French, and 
with an ill grace the royal bastard left Madrid on Palm 
Sunday, 1668, for his rendezvous at Corunna, where 
the treasure ships from Cadiz and his troops were to 
join him. Doji Juan saw in this move an intention of 
getting him away from the centre of government, anc[_ 
tHeTmpression was strengthened by the almost simul- 
taneous exile or arrest, on various trivial pretexts, of 
some of those who were known to sympathise with 
him, one of whom, Malladas, was strangled in prison 
by Mariana's orders. 

All through the spring Don Juan lagged at Corunna, 
excusing himself from embarking on various grounds, 
ill-health being the principal ; until, at length, thanks 
to the intervention of England and Holland, Louis 
was brought to sign terms of peace with Spain at Aix_ 
la Chapelle, in May 1668, that left him in possession 
of the Flemish territories he had conquered. But sjtill 
Mariana and Nithard were determined that Don-Juan 
should go and take possession of his government-in 
Flanders, and sent him a peremptory order to embark. 
This he refused to do, and a decree of the Queen in 
August directed him to retire to Consuegra, and not 
approach within sixty miles of Madrid. He had many 
friends and adherents, especially in Aragon, and his 
discontent extended to them. Those in Mtadrid began 
to clamour that Mariana and Nithard were keeping 
the little King in the background away from his people, 
and alienating those who might serve the monarchy 

Charles n. was now aged seven, and so degenerate^ 
and weak a child was he. that he had been up to this 
period, and continued for some years afterwards, en- 


tirely in the hands of women, and treated as an infant 
in arms. He was dwarfish and puny, with one leg 
shorter than the other, his gait during the whole of 
his life being uncertain and staggering. His face was 
of extraordinary length and ghastly white, the lower 
jaw being so prodigiously underhung that it was im- 
possible for him to bite or masticate food, or to speak 
distinctly. His hair was lank and yellow, and his eyes 
a vague watery blue. This poor creature with his 
mother at his side, in obedience to the clamour of Don 
Juan's friends, was first brought out in public for his 
subjects to see at a series of visits to the convents and 
churches of Madrid in the summer of 1668^ Just as 
the King and Mariana were about to start from the 
palace at Madrid on one of these excursions, in October 
1668, an officer came in great agitation to the door of 
the Queen's apartment and prayed for audience. He 
was told that the coach awaited their Majesties, and 
the Queen could not see him then, but would receive 
him when she returned. He begged in the meanwhile 
to be allowed to stay in a place of safety in the palace. 
This request made his visit seem important enough for 
Mariana to be informed of it : and she ordered him to 
be introduced at once. When he entered he threw 
himself upon his knees and besought that he might 
speak with her alone ; and for a half hour he was 
closeted with the Queen. 

The story he had to tell was of a widespread con- 
spiracy of Don Juan and his friends against the 
Regency, and without delay the net was cast that 
swept into prison one of Don Juan's principal agents 

1 An extremely detailed account of the events that accompanied the 
feud between Mariana and Don Juan will be found in a rare book called 
< Relation of the Differences that happened in the Court of Spain.' 
London, 1678. 


in Madrid, Patino, and all his household. In a day 
or two a force of soldiers was despatched to Consuegra 
to arrest Don Juan himself, but found the bird flown. 
Behind him he had left a document addressed to Trie 
Queen, violently denouncing Nithard as a tyrant and 
a murderer, whilst protesting his own loyalty to his 
father's son. Madrid began again to murmur at the 
persecution of a Spanish prince in Spain by a foreign 
Jesuit, and though a brisk interchange of mani- 
festoes and recriminatory pamphlets was carried on, 
the great mass of the people were unquestionably on 
th"e__side of Don Juan against the German Queen and 
hejesuit favourite. 

The Prince fled to Barcejona, where Nithard was 
especially hated and the Madrid government always 
unpopular, and there nobles _and people received Don 
Juan with enthusiasm. Messages of support came to 
him from all parts of Spain, and French money and 
sympathy powerfully aided his propaganda, so that by 
the end of the year 1668 affairs looked dangerous for 
Mariana and her confessor. The Queen and her 
Camarilla took fright and tried conciliation, but Don 
Juan knew that he had the whip hand, and in a letter 
written in November to Mariana peremptorily de- 
manded the dismissal of Nithard within fifteen days. 
Mariana's friends on the Council of Regency voted for 
the impeachment of Don Juan for high treason ; and 
for a time vigorous measures against him were like to 
be taken. But the Council of Castile, the supreme 
judicial authority, through its most influential member, 
warned the Queen that in a controversy between the 
King's brother and a foreign Jesuit Spaniards must 
necessarily be on the side of the former, and the Queen 
must be cautious or she would alienate the country 


from her. Mariana thereupon wrote softly to Don- 
Juan inviting^Eim to approach Madrid that a con- 
ference of conciliation might be held. But the prince 
would not trust Nithard, who, he said, had planned his 
murder, and he declined to risk coming to the capital 
except in his own time and way. 

Early in February 1669, Don Juan, with a fine 
bodyguard of two hundred horse, rode out of Barcelona, 
and through Catalonia and Aragon towards Madrid. 
Mariana had sent strict orders throughout the country 
that no honours were to be paid to him, but his journey 
in spite of her was a triumphal progress, and as he 
entered Saragossa in state the whole populace received 
him with shouts of : ' Long live Don Juan of Austria, 
and Death to the_ Jesuit Nithard/ A regiment of 
mfantry was added by Aragon to the Prince's force, 
and on the 24th February Mariana and her friend in 
the palace of Madrid were horrified to learn that Don 
Juan was at the gates of the capital with an armed 
body stronger than any at their prompt disposal. 
Whilst they made such hasty preparations as they 
could to resist, all Madrid was in open jubilation at 
the approach of their favourite prince. Don JucuVs 
force grew from hour to hour, a,nd with it grew his 
haughtiness towards the ruling authority. Mariana, in 
alarm, tried every means. The Nuncio endeavoured 
to soften Don Juan's heart; the higher nobles in the 
Queen's household wrote to him deprecating violence ; 
and, finally, the Queen herself wrote a letter of kindly 
welcome. But to allblandishments Don Juan stood 
firm : Father Nithard must go for good, and at once ; 
whilst the Council of Castile also demanded the Jesuit's 

morning of 25th February, whilst Mariana 


was still in bed, the courtyards of the palace filled with 
gentlemen and officials in groups, who openly declared 
for Don Juan and the expulsion of Nithard. The 
Dukes of Infantado and Pastrana sought an interview 
with the Queen, for the purpose of informing her of 
the general resolution, but were refused admittance 
into her bedchamber. They then charged her secre- 
tary, Loyola, to inform her, that unless she instantly 
signed a decree expelling Nithard they themselves 
would take measures against him, as Madrid was in 
a turmoil and order imperilled. Mariana with tears 
ofTageswore that she would not be coerced ; and 
Nithard himself refused to stir. A hasty meeting of 
the Council of Regency assembled in the forenoon, 
which Nithard abstained from attending only upon the 
entreaty of the Nuncio, where a decree of expulsion 
was drafted in the mildest form possible, and laid 
before the Queen for signature as soon as she had 

Mariana was at the end of her tether. The Court, 
the populace, and the soldiery were all against her 
favourite, and she was forced to sign the decree. But, 
though she did it, she never forgave Don Juan for the 
humiliation, and thenceforward it was war to the knife 
between them. Cardinal JNithard, with rich grants 
and gifts from the Queen, was with difficulty saved 
from the cursing multitude that surrounded his coach 
as he slunk out of the capital ; and Don Juan, 
tnumphant, begged for permission to comejmd salute 
the Queen in thanks for his expulsion. This, haughty 
M ariana^coMiy refused to allow," and _Pon Juan 
retorted by demanding a thorough reform in the 
administration of the^government, a re-adjustment_of 
taxation and many other innovations which he alleged 


that Nithard alone had prevented. The Spanish 
nobtev- Jiowever, were no lovers of reform, and 
Don Juan's drastic demands were regarded askance by 
many. A long acrimonous correspondence was carried 
on by the Queen at Madrid and Don Juan at 
Guadalajara, in the course of which some financial 
amendments were promised by the former : but in the 
meantime Mariana's friends were raising an armed 
force as a bodyguard for her and her son, which after- 
wards became famous as the Chambergo regiment, 
because the uniform was copied from those worn by 
the troops of Marshal Schomberg. The formation 
of this standing force was bitterly resented by the 
citizens of Madrid, and aroused new sympathy for Don 
Juan. At length a semi-reconciliation was effected by 
the appointment of Don Juan as Viceroy of Aragon 
in June 1669; ajid_Jor_jeveral years thereafter the 
Prince was piling up funds from his rich offices To_ 
strike a more effectual blow when the time should 

TThe extreme debility of the boy King, who in 1670 
was thought to be moribund, was already dividing the 
courtiers, and indeed all Spain and Europe, into two 
camps. If Charles n. died without issue, a$ seemed 
probable, his elder sister Maria Theresa, wife of Louis 
xiv., would be his natural successor,J)ut for the act of 
renunciation signed at the time of her marriage ; an 
act which from the first the French had minimised and 
disputed, and Philip himself had characterised as an 
'old wife's tale.' It was evident that Louis xiv., daily 
growing in power and ambition, had no intention of 
allowing the renunciation to stand in the way of his 
wife's claims if her brother died childless ; and a" 
Mariana's enemies in Spain, and they were many, \ 


ready to stand by the claims of the elder Infanta Maria 
Teresa, daughter of the beloved Isabel of Bourbon, if 
the succession fell into dispute. 

On the other hand, Mariana, naturally championed 
the cause of her own daughterTtRe "trifanta "Margaret, 
married to the Emperor Leopold, -and*"uprlel3^the 
validity of Maria Theresa's formal renunciation of the 
succession on her marriage. The Austrian connection 
had brought nothing but trouble to Spain, and the 
brilliant progress of France, even though it was to the 
detriment of their country, had gained many Spanish 
admirers of the modern spirit that pervaded the 
methods of Louis xiv. Mariana,^ there fore, to most 
Spaniards, represented, with her pronounced Austrian 
leanings, an attempt to tie the country to the bad old 
times, as well as to pass over the legitimate rights of 
the elder Infanta for the benefit of her own less 
popular daughter the Empress Margaret. 

The Queen-Mother, well aware of the strong party 
against her, and that her prime enemy, Don Juan, was 
only awaiting his time to strike at her, employed all 
the resources she could scrape together in providing 
for her own defence against her domestic opponents, 
leaving the frontier fortresses divested of troops and 
means for repelling attack from France ; whilst, on 
the other hand, she provoked Louis by sending a 
Spanish contingent to co-operate with the Emperor's 
troops in aiding the Dutch in their war with France ; 
and, later, in 1673, she formed a regular alliance with 
the Emperor and Holland against Louis xiv. Nothing 
could have been more imprudent tharT this in the 
circumstances, for Spain was in a worse condition of 
exhaustion than ever, and the hope of beating France 
by force had long ago proved fallacious. The ancient 


appanage of Burgundy, the Franche Comte\ promptly 
passed for ever from the dominion of Spain to that of 
France ; and whilst the fighting in Flanders and the 
Catalan frontier was progressing in 1674, a new trouble 
assailed Mariana's government. The island of Sicily 
revolted, and invited the French to assume the 
sovereignty, an invitation that was promptly accepted. 
Thirty-seven years before, when he was a mere 
stripling, Don Juan had recovered Naples for Spain in 
similar circumstances ; and Mariana, almost in despair, 
could only beseech her enemy to leave his government 
at Saragossa, and take command of the Spanish- Dutch 
forces to attack the French in Sicily. But Don Juan, 
knowing her desire to get him out of the way, was 
determined not to allow himself to be sent far from the 
centre of affairs, and refused to accept the position. 

His reasons were well founded, for events were 
passing in Mariana's palace that rendered her more 
unpopular than j^v:er ; and, by the will of Philip iv., her 
regency would come to an end when her son attained 
his fifteenth year late in the next year 167$. TThad 
beenTioped that with the banishment of Nithard and 
the absence from the capital of Don Juan, the factions 
that divided the Court would have held their peace 
during the few years the regency lasted ; and possibly 
this would have been the case if the Queen had been 
prudent. Her unwise favour to Nithard had already 
made her extremely unpopular, tor foreign Queens in 
Spain were always suspect ;"but she had learned 
nothing from her favourite's ignominious expulsion ; 
and soon a confidant, less worthy far than Nithard, 
had completely captured the good graces of the Queen. 
This was a young gentleman of no fortune named 
Fernando de Valenzuela. He was one of those facile, 


plausible, Andaluces, a native of Ronda, who had 
figured so brilliantly in the Court of Philip iv. and 
Mariana, where the accomplishment of deftly turning 
amorous verse, improvising a dramatic interlude, or 
contriving a stinging epigram, opened a way to 
fortune. He had been a member of the household of 
the Duke of Infantado, and upon the death of the 
latter, had attached himself to Father Nithard, who 
needed the aid of such men. 

Valenzuela was not only keen and clever, but 
extremely handsome, in the black-eyed Moorish style 
of beauty, for which the people of Ronda are famous, 
and hesoon managed to gain^thefull confidence of 
both Nithard and the Queen, whoirTTTe serve'cTas 
a go-between and messenger, a function which he 
continued after the Jesuit had been expelled. He had 
married the Queen's favourite half-German maid, and 
had been appointed a royal equerry ; both of which 
circumstances gave a pretext for his continual presence 
in the palace ; and at the time of the agitation against 
Nithard, and afterwards, he had been extremely useful 
in conveying to the Queen all the comments that 
could be picked up by sharp ears in the Calle Mayor 
and Liars' Parade (the peristyle of the Church of St. 
Philip). It was noticed that those who spoke in- 
cautiously of the Queen in public were promptly 
denounced and brought to trouble, and the gossips 
soon pitched upon Valenzuela as the spy, calling him 
in consequence by the nickname, by which he was 
generally known, of the ' fairy of the palace/ The 
rnan was bold, ambitious, and unscrupulous, and soon 
more than occupied the place left vacanF by^Jithafd. 
"jealous nobles and courtiers looked witElncTigfiafibn 
at the rapid rise of a mere provincial adventurer to 


the highest places in the State. Not only was a 
marquisite and high commands and offices conferred 
upon him, but at a time when Spain was in the 
midst of a great international war that ended in the 
remodelling of the map of Europe at her expense, this 
favourite, without special aptitude or experience, was 
appointed by Mariana her universal minister for all 
affairs ; and Valenzuela was the most powerful man 
in Spain. He manfully did his best though unsuccess- 
fully, for he was cordially detested, to win popularity 
in an impossible position, by multiplying in Madrid 
the feasts and diversions its inhabitants loved, by 
writing comedies himself, full of wit and malice, for 
gratis representation in the theatres, by re-building 
public edifices, and generally beautifying the capital. 
He was surrounded, moreover, by a great crowd of 
parasites, mostly nobodies, like himself, who sang his 
praises for the plunder he could pour upon them. 

But his rise was too rapid, and his origin too obscure 
to "be easily forgiven, and a perfect deluge of satires, 
verses, pamphlets and flying sheets, full of gross libels 
upon him and the Queen, came from the secret presses 
and circulated throughout Spain. The general opinion 
was that he was the Queen's lover as well as her 
minister ; but Madrid was always a hotbed of scandal, 
and, although this may well have been true, it must 
be regarded as non-proven. As a specimen of the 
view taken of the connection by contemporaries the 
following description of a broad-sheet, found one morn- 
ing posted on the walls of the palace, may be given. 
A portrait of the Queen is represented with her hand 
pointing to her heart, with the printed legend, ' This 
is given ; ' whilst Valenzuela is pourtrayed standing 
close by her side, pointing to the insignias and emblems 


of his many high offices, and saying, 'These are sold.' 
The favourite himself seems to have been anxious to 
strengthen the rumour that assigned to him the 
amorous affection of the widowed Queen, for at two 
of the Court festivals, of which he promoted many, he 
bore as his devices, ' I alone have licence,' and 'To me 
alone is it allowed.' 1 

The unrestrained favour extended by the Queen to 
such an upstart as this gave hosts of new adherents 
to Don Juan ; and such of them as had access to The 
young King, now rapidly approaching his legal 
majority, took care to paint the wretched condition 
of the country in the blackest colours, and to ascribe 
the trouble to the Queen's bad minister. ^JThe boy, 
though nearly fifteen, was still a child ; backward and, 
atbest, almost an idiot. He~could hardly read or 
write, for the weakness of his wits and the degeneracy 
of his physique had caused his education to be entirely 
neglected, and he was, even in his mature age, grossly 
ignorant of the simplest facts. But, like his father, 
he was gentle, kind and good-hearted, and his com- 
passion was easily aroused by the sad stories told him 
of the sufferings of his people, especially when they 
came from the lips of his father confessor, Montenegro, 
and his trusted tutor Ramos del Manzano. 

They, and the great nobles who prompted them, 
understood that the moment had come for action 
when, in the late autumn of 1675, Mariana and 
Valenzuela ordered Don Juan to sail in RuyteFs fleet 
tcTTJicily and eject the French ; and what to them 
was just as important, leave them with no rivals near 
tEem_jwhen~ the King^ came of age. Charles was 
persuaded by his confessor, and Without the know- 

1 Montero de los Rios, * Historia de Madrid.' 


ledge of his mother, to sign a letter recalling his half- 
brother to Madrid ; and with this in his hand Don 
Juan could refuse, as Tie did, to sail for Sicily. On 
tfTeTmorning of oth November 1675, the day that 
Charles reached his fifteenth year and the regency 
ended, Madrid was astir early to see the shows that 
wefe to celebrate the new reign, though the country, 
in its utter exhaustion and misery^ was in no spirit to 
rejoice now. 

To the surprise of most was seen a royal travelling 
carnage rapidly approach the Buen Retiro palace, and 
the escort that surrounded it proclaimed that the occu- 
pant of the coach was no other than Don Juan. All 
was prepared for the coup d'etat. The prince hurried, 
unknown to Mariana, to the young King's apartment, 
and kneeling, kissed the boy's hand ; whilst a decree, 
already drafted, was presented to the King, appointing 
his half-brother the universal minister of the crown. 
Mariana had passed the night at the palace a mile 
away, but the coming of her enemy to the Buen 
Retiro had been announced to her before he alighted. 
Without losing a moment she flew to the Retiro and 
reached her son's room just as the decree that would 
ha^je.- ruined her was about to be signed. She was 
an imperious woman, and had been Queen-Regent 
of Spain for over ten years : her control of her feeble 
son had been supreme whilst she was with him, and 
her angry orders that the room should be cleared 
might not be gainsaid. Left alone with her son, she 
led him to a private room and, with tears and indignant 
reproaches, reduced the poor lad to a condition of 
abject submiss^iTtb"HeF"witl7" 

"" 1 ife~presidefft 6TTFFeT13oimcil of Castile had already 
told her, that as Don Juan had come by the King's 


warrant, the same authority alone could send him back, 
and Charles was induced to sign a decree commanding 
the prince to returrTTorthwith to his government in 
Aragon and remain there till further orders. Now was 
tHe time when boldness on the part of Don Juan would 
have won the day ; for the nobles, court and people, 
were mostly on his side against Valenzuela and the 
Queen, whose means did not allow them to bribe 
everybody. But Don Juan was as vain and empty 
as he was ambitious and failed to rise to the occasion. 
The sacrosanct character of the King of Castile, more- 
over, was still a strong tradition, and Don Juan, who 
knew his fellow-countrymen well, darecT~not aim aT 
ru"ttng r "ihstead o the King, but through the King. 
So that night Don Juan and his supporters met In 
conclave, and weakly decided to obey the King's new 
command without protest, instead of making another 
attempt to over-ride Mariana's influence upon her son; 
and the prince returned to Aragon overwhelmed with 
confusion and disappointment. 1 

The triumph of Mariana was complete, and she 
tooTnio pains to conceal her joy when~~sKe attended 
that night in state the theatre of the Buen Retiro, in 
celebration of the King's coming of age. In a few 
days all those who had had a hand in the futile con- 
spiracy were on their way to exile ; and, to keep up 
appearances, Valenzuela himself was given the rich 
post of Admiral of the Andalucfan coast, with another" 
ricTT marquisate, as an excuse for his absence from 
the capital during the first few weeks of the King's 
majority. He was soon back again, collecting new 
honours from the feeble King at the instance of 

1 'Diario de los Sucesos de la Corte.' MS. in the Royal Academy of 
History, Madrid. 


Mariana, and to the indignation of the other nobles. 
The great post of Master of the Horse, usually held 
by one of the first magnates of Spain, was given to 
Valenzuela ; and when the jealous grandees remon- 
strated he was made a grandee of Spain of the first 
class to match his new dignity. All this, and the 
fact that Don Juan had been deprived of his vice- 
royalty, thougtr^banished troln^C^ourt. may testify to 
Mariana's determination and boldness, but says little 
for* her prudence; for all Spain, high and low, was 
against her, and^Valenzuela was a weak reed to depend 
upon in the face of so powerful an opposition. 

In the meanwhile the conspiracy against Mariana 
grew in strength. Don Juan amongst his faithful 
Aragonese could plot with impunity, whilst the nobles 
in Madrid were working incessantly to the same ends, 
namely, the banishment of Mariana and the impeach- 
ment and punishment of Valenzuela. In February 
1676 all the principal grandees signed a mutual pledge 
to stand together until these objects were attained ; 
and as, in virtue of their position, they had unrestrained 
access to the King, who was now nominally his 
own master, the result of their efforts was soon 

The object lesson to which they could point was a 
very plain one. Spanish troops were still pouring out 
their blood upon the battlefields of Europe without 
benefit to Spain : the distress in the capital itself was 
appalling ; even the King's household sometimes bting 
without food, or means of obtaining it. On every side 
ruin had overwhelmed the people. Industry had been 
crushed by taxation, whole districts were depopulated 
and derelict, and neither life nor property was safe 
from the bandits who defied the law in town and 


country. 1 Spain had almost, though not quite, reached 
its nadir of decadence : and, though the distress was 
really the result of longstanding causes described in 
the earlier pages of this book, the_boy monarch was 
made to believe that it all arose from the misgovern- 
ment of his mother and ValeilZUelaT and thatTBpir' 
J uan could remedy all the ills and ma1<e Spain strong 
anjjiappy again. 

The noble conspirators took care, this time, to 
neglect no precautions that might ensure success, and 
obtained (2 7th December 1676) from the King an 
order to which Mariana was obliged to consent, for 
Don Juan to return to Madrid ; whilst on various pre- 
texts they kept the Queen as much as possible from 
influencing her son. Valenzuela was, of course, in- 
formed of what was going on, and, recognising that the 
coalition was strong enough to crush him, had suddenly 
Bed into hiding a few days previously. The night of 
the 1 4th January 1677, after the King had retired to 
his bedchamber in the palace of Madrid, and Mariana 
doubtless thought that all was safe until the next morn- 
ing, Charles, accompanied by a single gentleman-in- 
waiting, escaped by arrangement with the conspirators, 
down backstairs and through servants doorways, from 
the old palace to the Buen Retire, where the nobles 
and courtiers were assembled. Long before dawn a 
decree reached Mariana in her bedroom in the 
palace, ordering her not to leave her apartments with- 
out the written permission of the King. Her rage 
and indignation knew no bounds, and for the rest of 
the night letters alternately denouncing the unduti- 

1 A full description of the condition of Spain at the period, drawn 
from many contemporary sources, is given in ' Spain, Its Greatness and 
Decay,' by Martin Hume (Cambridge University Press). 


fulness, and appealing to the affection of her son, 
showered thick and fast from the Queen in the old 
Alcazar to the sixteen year old boy with the long white 
face, who was trying to play the King in the pleasance 
of the Buen Retiro. None of her letters softened him, 
if ever they reached him, which is doubtful, and all the 
next day the antechambers at the Retiro were crowded 
with courtiers, applauding the King's stroke of State, 
whilst in the Alcazar on the cliff the Queen mother 
found herself neglected by flatterers, a prisoner, in tke 
palace where she had reigned so long. 

The next day news came that Don Juan, with a 
great armed escort and household, had arrived at 
Hita, thirty-five miles from the capital ; and. there the 
Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo and a crowd of grandees 
met him with a message from the King, asking him to 
dismiss his armed men and come to Court for the pur- 
pose of taking the direction of affairs. But Don Juan 
had his conditions to make first, and he refused to 
pi^^ it, Valenzuela 

mg,de_aL__grisoner,^and the hated Chambergo regiment 
disbanded. He had his way in all things, and the 
same night, with rage"ln her fieart, Mariana rode out 
of the capitaL f r he** banishment at Toledo ; the 
CTTambergos were hurried away for shipment to Sicily ; 
and then came the question where was Valenzuela. 
Reluctantly, and bit by bit, it was drawn from the King 
that he himself had contrived the flight of his mother's 
favourite, and knew where he was hidden amongst the 
friars of the palace-monastery of the Escorial. 

From his windows overlooking the bleak Sierra 
of Guadarrama the fugitive favourite gazed in the 
gathering dusk of the I7th January 1677 in fancied 
security ; when, to his dismay, a large body of cavalry 


trotted into the courtyard and dominated the palace. 
Amongst them the alarmed Valenzuela descried his 
enemy the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and a group of 
other grandees. Flying for refuge within the con- 
secrated precincts, he besought .the prior to save him ; 
and when the doors of the monastery had been closed 
the prior greeted the troops and nobles in the court- 
yard and demanded their pleasure. ' We want nothing/ 
they replied, ' but that you will deliver to us the traitor 
Valenzuela.' ' Have you an order from his Majesty ? ' 
asked the prior. ' Only a verbal one,' replied Don 
Antonio de Toledo, son of the Duke of Alba, who 
took the lead. ' In that case,' replied the monk, sup- 
ported by a murmur of approval from his brethren 
behind, * we will not surrender him, except to main 
force ; for we shelter him by written warrant of the 
King.' Threats and insults failed to move the monks, 
and an attempt at arrangement was at last made by 
means of an interview in the church between Valenzuela 
himself and the Duke of Medina Sidonia and Toledo. 
Owing mainly to the violence of the latter the inter- 
view had no result ; and, as the prior saw that the 
soldiery were preparing to force the sanctuary, Valen- 
zuela was hidden in a secret room contrived for such 
eventualities where he might defy discovery. The 
enraged nobles and soldiery, balked of their prey, ran- 
sacked the enormous place, room by room, for three 
days, overturning altars, insulting and violating the 
privacy of the monks, and committing sacrilege undreamt 
of in Spain for centuries, for which they were smartly 
punished afterwards by the ecclesiastical authority. 1 

1 The nobles and leaders were all excommunicated, and not even the 
King's intercession could mollify the Pope until full reparation was made 
at tremendous cost, and penance done in most humiliating fashion. 


At length, on the night of 2ist January, Valenzuela 
took fright at some voices near, and foolishly^ letTum^ 
self down by his twisted sheets from the window of his 
safe retreat ; and, though one sentry let him go, and 
the monks made desperate attempts to keep him 
hidden, he was captured on the 22nd January and 
carried with every circumstanceTbf ignominy to close 
confinement in^Uon J uan^siortress of Consuegra ; 
then after terrible sufferings^ and stripped ot all his 
honours^andpos'sessioiis, fe-wa^nTpns^oned m M anila . 
and'Sfterwarcts takeii to Mexico to die fwhilst his unfor- 
tunate wife, treated with atrocious brutality by Toledo, 
was reduced to beg from door to door for charity, until 
her troubles drove her mad. 1 No sooner was Valen- 
zuela safe behind the bars at Consuegra than Don 
Juan of Austria entered Madrid in state on: the 
January, acclaimed by the popuiace as the saviour 

1 The contemptible instability of the King is seen in a conversation he 
had with the prior of the Escorial the day after Valenzuela's capture. 
The prior had been formerly urged most earnestly by Charles to shelter 
and defend the favourite, and a written warrant to that effect was given. 
As no written order for his capture was exhibited the Prior presented 
himself before the King to explain what had been done. Before he could 
speak Charles giggled and said, ' So they caught him ! ' ' Yes, sire, they 
caught him,' replied the prior. 'And his wife too?' asked the King. 
' His wife is now in Madrid, sire, and I come now to crave mercy and 
protection for both of them.' * For his wife but not for him,' said Charles. 
' But surely your Majesty will not abandon your unhappy minister in this 
sad strait.' * You may take it from me,' replied Charles, * that a holy 
woman has had a revelation from God that Valenzuela was to be captured 
at the Escorial.' * A revelation of the devil more likely,' blurted out the 
disgusted prior. ' And pray do not think, sire, that I am interceding for 
Valenzuela for interests of my own : I never got anything from him in 
the world but this benzoin lozenge.' With this Charles jumped back in 
a fright. ' Put it away 1 put it away ! ' he cried. ' Perhaps it is witchcraft 
or poison.' 

(The narrative is from an MS. relation written by one of the monks at 
the time, and now in the Escorial Library. Portions of it have been 
quoted by Don Modesto Lafuente, ' Historia de Espana,' vol. xii.) 


Spain,and welcomed by the King as the heaven-sent 
minister who was to make his reign brilliant and suc- 
cessful. Don Juan's vengeance knew no limit, as his 
soul knew no generosity." Whatever may have~been 
Mariana's faults as a Queen of Spain, or her errors as 
a diplomatist, the ignominy to which she was now sub- 
jected by ordeiT of her son, at the instance 61 Don 
Juan, shows Che lack uf ^euciustty of the latter and 
the miserable weakness of the former. Mafiana*s turn 
was to come again by and bye, but with her banish- 
ment to Toledo her life as ruling Queen of Spain came 
to an end. Shejived nearly twenty years afterwards, 
but her vicissitudes~during that time~ may be fold 
more fittingly in connection with the lives of her two 
successors, the wives of her afflicted son. 




WITH Mariana, closely watched in her convent at 
Toledo, and all her friends exiled from Court, Don 
Juan of Austria reigned supreme. For years he had 
been clamouring for reform, and holding up as a 
terrible example of the results of mis-government the 
utter prostration that had seized upon the nation. 
This was his chance, and he missed it ; for he, whom 
a whole people had acclaimed as the strong man that 
was to redeem Spain from the sins and errors of the 
past, proved in power to be ajealous vindictive trifler, 
incapable of great ideas or statesmanlike action. 

Every supporter of the^Queen-Mother. from the 

highest Itojhe lowest, was made to feel the persecution 
of Don Juan ; letters from Toledo were opened, spies 
listened at every corner, and violated the sanctity 
of every home, in the anxiety of the Prince to discover 
plots against him. His pride exceeded all bounds, and 
most of his time was occupied in intrigues to secure 
for himself the treatment due to a royal prince of 
legitimate birth. 

Whilst Don Juan was engaged in these trifles and 
equally futile government measures, such as endeavour- 
ing^ decree to make the courtiers dress in the French 
fashion instead of Spanish, the taxes were as heavy as 
before, the prices of food higher than ever, the ad- 
ministration remained unreformed, and the law was still 
contemned : the Spanish troops "were being beaten by 
the French iiTCatalonia for lack of support, and King 



Louis still occupied Sicily. E^onjuan's own supporters, 
too, soon got tired of him when they saw that he was 
grudging ^Tre wards, even to them ; and pasquins and 
pamphlets rained against him and in favour of the 
Queen- Mother. The latter and the imperial am- 
bassador had, before the coming of Don Juan, be- 
trothed the King to his niece the Archduchess Marie 
Antoinette, aged nine, the daughter of the Emperor ; 
as if the miserable Charles himself had not been a 
sufficient warning against further consanguineous 
marriages 'in the house of Austria: but Don Juan 
promptly put an end to that arrangement, and pro- 
posed to marry Charles to a little Portuguese Infanta 
of similar age. Peace was now an absolute necessity 
to all Europe. The pourparlers between the powers 
at Nimeguen had already lasted two years, and ended 
in an arrangement between Holland and France, in 
which Spain was left out. Louis could then exact his 
own terms ; and, as usual, they were crushingly hard 
on Spain, which lost some of the richest cities in 
Flanders and all the Franche Comte (September 1678). 
But it was peace, and the rejoicing of the over- 
burdened Spanish people was pathetic to witness. 

Charles was seventeen years of age, and already his 
country was speculating eagerly upon his marriage ; 
whilst his degeneracy and weakness aroused hopes and 
fears of what might happen if he died without issue. 
According to the will of Philip iv., the succession fell 
to the Empress Margaret, daughter of Mariana ; but 
the French King, who from the first had made light of 
his wife's renunciation of her Spanish birthright, and 
Maria Theresa herself, were not inclined to let her 
'claims go by default. Soon the gossips in Madrid 
began to whisper that a French Queen Consort, a 


descendant of the house which had given them their 
beloved Isabel of Bourbon, would suit Spain best, and 
Dqn Juan himself was not unwilling to listen to such 
<i suggestion ; for, in any case, the King must marry, 
and a French match would be a blow against Mariana 
and the Austrian connection. The Duke of Medina 
Celi, Don Juan's principal henchman, slept, as sumiller 
de corps, in the King's room ; and it was he who first 
broached to Charles the idea of a French wife. He 
was,' the Duke reminded him, a grown man now, and 
the Austrian Archduchess of ten was too young for 
him. The Princess of Portugal, he said, would never 
be consented to by the French, and she was also too 
youthful : but there was at St. Cloud the most lovely 
Princess ever seen, only a year younger than him- 
self, who was a bride for the greatest king in the 
world. I 

Her name was Marie Louise, and she was the 
daughter of the brother of King Louis, the Duke of 
Orleans, by Henriette of England, that beautiful 
daughter of Charles i. who had been so beloved in the 
country of her adoption. Maria Theresa took care 
that miniatures of her lovely niece should go to the 
Spanish Court, and when one of them was brought 
to~tHe notice of the young King, his adolescent passion 
was inflamed at once, and the Marquis de los 
Balbeses, who had represented Spain at the conference 
of Nimeguen, was instructed by Don Juan to proceed 
to Paris and ask King Louis for the hand of his niece. 

Marie Louise was a spoilt beauty of the most refined 
and gayest court in Europe. She had when a child 

1 ' Memoires touchans le manage de Charles II. avec Marie Louise,' 
from which many of details related in the text concerning the marriage 
in France and the journey to the frontier are taken. 


lost her English mother ; but every body was in love 
with her, from King Louis downward ; and it had 
long been understood that she might marry the 
Dauphin, with whom she was on the tenderest terms 
of affection. But the treaties of Nimeguen had trans- 
formed the face of Europe, and Louis had other views 
for his son, whilst the need for securing a footing in 
Spain during the critical period approaching was 
evident. So, when Balbeses came to Paris with 
unusual state, and Saint Germain and Saint Cloud 
were a blaze of magnificence to receive him, the girl's 
heart sank ; for with her precocious intelligence she 
guessed the meaning of the whispers and curious 
glances that greeted her every appearance in the 
ceremonies in honour of the King of Spain's am- 

She and the Dauphin were deeply in love with each 
other, and had been so since childhood ; and it was 
like a sentence of death for the beautiful girl with the 
burnished copper-brown hair and flashing eyes, to 
learn that she was to be the bride of the long-faced, 
pallid boy, with the monstrous jaw and dull stare, in 
his gloomy palace far away from brilliant Versailles, 
and from her own home at Saint Cloud. When her 
father, the Duke of Orleans, and afterwards King 
/ Louis himself, gravely told her the honour that was in 
V store for her, she implored them in an agony of 
passionate tears to save her from such a fate. To her 
stepmother, Charlotte of Bavaria, to the Queen Ma* 
Theresa, to the King, she appealed on her knees, 
again and again, to let her stay in France, where she 
was so happy ; and not to send her far away amongst 
people she did not love. She was told that her duty 
was to France ; and Colbert, by the order of King 


Louis, drew up a serious State paper for the instruction 
of the frightened girl in the manner that French L 
interests might be served by her as Queen of 

The fine pearl necklace, worth a hundred thousand 
crowns, given to her by King Louis, the magnificent 
diamonds brought by the Duke of Pastrana, 1 as a 
present to her from her future husband, the title of 
Majesty, ostentatiously given to her as soon as 
preliminaries were arranged, the fine dresses and 
jewels, and the new deference with which she was 
surrounded, only deepened the girl's grief. Her heart 
grew hard and her spirit reckless when she understood 
that, regardless of her own feelings, she was to be 
a sacrifice : and, as the pompous ceremony of her 
marriage by proxy approached, she became outwardly 
calm, and more proudly beautiful than ever. On the 
30th August 1679, as the new Queen was led by her 
father on one hand and the Dauphin she loved on the 
other, into the principal saloon at Fontainebleau for 
the formal betrothal to the Prince of Conti, represent- 
ing the King of Spain, all the Court was enraptured 
at her peerless loveliness. Her train, seven yards 
long, of cloth of gold, was borne by princesses 
of the blood ; and the magnificence that the Roi 

1 On the return of the Duke of Pastrana to Spain after the marriage at 
Fontainebleau, Marie Louise sent by him her first letter to her husband. 
I have had the good fortune to come across this hitherto unpublished 
in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. It is badly written, in a great 
scared school hand, evidently copied from a draft. I transcribe it here 
in full : ' Monseigneur. Je ne puis laisser partir le due de Pastrana sans 
tesmoigner a votre Majest 1'impatience que j'ai d'avoir 1'honneur de la 
voir. Je suplie en mesme temps votre Majestd d'estre bien persuaded 
du respect que j'ai pour elle et de Pattachement inviolable avec lequel je 
serai toute ma vie, Monseigneur, de votre Majestd la tres humble et 
tres observante, Marie Louise.' 

2 D 


Soleil loved so well found its centre in the jewels that 
blazed over the young Princess who was being 
sacrificed for France. 

It would be tedious to recount the splendour of the 
betrothal, and marriage the next day, 3ist August, 1 
but when, after the ceremony with Conti that made 
Marie Louise the wife of Charles 11., she left the 
chapel in her royal crown, her purple velvet robe 
lined with ermine and covered with golden fleurs de lis, 
and her flashing gems enveloping her in light, King 
Louis and his Queen, between whom she walked in 
the procession, praised and soothed her as the most 
perfect princess and queen in the world. At the State 
concert and ball that night, and at the ceremonies of 
the morrow, Marie Louise was radiant in her loveli- 
ness, and shed no tears, for she was steeled now to 
the sacrifice, and determinecT thenceforward to get as 
much sensuous joy out of life as she could, in spite of 
the fate that had befallen her. 

Whilst this was happening in Fontainebleau, the plot 
was thickening in Madrid. The star of Don Juan 
was yisibl^pn_the wane. The adherents of Mariana 
grew bolder "daily' ;~some of them, like the Duke of 
Osuna, dared to come to Court in spite of prohibition ; 
and Don Juan lived in daily fear that the King would 
slip through his hands and join his mother in Toledo. 
In order to divert him from visiting Aranjuez, which 
is within riding distance of Toledo, all sorts of pretexts 
were invented, and the surveillance of the old Queen 
by Don Juan's agents became more insulting than 
ever. Mme. D'Aulnoy narrates a conversation with 

1 They are described with the minuteness of a milliner's bill in 
1 Descripcion de las circunstancias esenciales ... en la funcion de los 
desposorios del Rey N. S. Don Carlos II.' Madrid, 1679. 


Don Juan at the time, which may well be authentic. 1 
' She asked him if it was true that the Queen-Mother 
had written to the King requesting him to see her, 
and that he had refused. The prince admitted that 
it was, and that this was the sole reason that had 
prevented his Majesty from going to Aranjuez, for 
fear that she might go there and see him, in spite of 
the orders given to her not to leave Toledo. "What, 
sir," I cried; "The King refuses to see his mother!" 
"Say rather," he replied, "that reasons of State 
prevent monarchs from following their own inclina- 
tions when they clash with the public interest. We 
have a maxim in the Council of State always to be 
guided by the spirit of the great Emperor Charles v. 
in all difficult questions." ' . . . 'It was quite evident 
to me,' concludes Mme. B'Aul*ny, 'that D*n Juan 
accommodated the genius of Charles v. to suit his 
own.' 2 

Don Juan had grown colder towards the French 
match as time went on. He had, indeed, endeavoured 
more than once to obstruct or frustrate it by suggest- 
ing impossible conditions ; but even Charles n. had 
plucked up some semblance of manhood with his 
approaching marriage to the original of the portrait 
that had so enraptured him, and gave his half-brother 

1 Mme. D'Aulnoy's celebrated ' Voyage D'Espagne' is usually quoted 
largely for local colour in the histories and romances of this period. I 
am, however, of opinion that very little credit can be given to it, so far 
as the authoress's own adventures are concerned. I have grave doubts 
indeed, whether Mme. D'Aulnoy went to Spain at all. Much of her 
information is easily traceable to other books, and the rest, apart from 
the love romances that occupy so many of her pages, may well have been 
gathered from her cousin, who was married to a Spanish nobleman. The 
cousin is represented as a friend of Don Juan, and the conversation very 
likely did take place with her, as Mme. D'Aulnoy represents, though 
perhaps the latter was not present. 

2 'Voyage d'Espagne.' La Haye, 1692. 


to understand that he meant to have his own way, in 
this and in other things. 1 Don Juan had very soon 
understood t^jL^the^appearance of Marie Louise in 
, SpaTKpwitrT the influence ofLouis xiv. behind her, 
would mean his own downfall ; and the arrival of the 
Marquis of VillarsT~the French ambassador, with 
instructions from his master not to accede to the 
ambitious claims of Don Juan to receive the ambas- 
sador seated and to give his hand as a royal prince, 
led to infinite negotiation. Louis was determined 
that the bastard of Philip iv. should not be treated 
by his ambassador as royal, unless his own illegitimate 
offspring enjoyed the same privilege ; and Villars was 
instructed not to negotiate with Don Juan at all unless 
he gave way. 2 Louis also instructed Villars to pro- 
ceed to Toledo and salute Mariana ; and Don Juan 
knew that with the Queen-mother's interest, the French 
interest, and most of Spain against him, his govern- 
ment was doomed to an early extinction. 

The knowledge killed him ; and before Marie Louise 
had reached the Spanish frontier the news came to 
her that Don Juan was dead, I7th September. He 
had suffered for many weeks from double tertian fevers, 
and his anxiety had increased the malady. The King, 
he knew, was already holding conferences of nobles, 
plotting to escape to his mother and decree his half- 
brother's dismissal. On all sides those upon whom 
he had depended now opposed him, and some of his 
old enemies had already claimed the right, in virtue 
of their rank and offices, to go and attend the new 

1 When he consented to the return of some of Mariana's friends to 
Court he was told that Don Juan would object. * What does that matter ? ' 
he replied. ' I wish it, and that is enough.' 

' 2 ' Recueil des Instructions aux Ambassadeurs de France (Espagne).' 
Paris, 1894. 


Queen. In these circumstances it is not necessary 
to seek, as many contemporaries did, to explain his 
death by accusations against Mariana and her friends 
of poisoning him ; but there is no denying that his 
death was most opportune for them, and was welcome 
to the whole nation, as ensuring some degree of 
harmony under the new regime that was to commence 
with the King's marriage. Don Juan's dying ears 
were dinned by the explosion of fireworks from his 
own windows, in celebration of the wedding at Fon- 
tainebleau, so little regard was paid to him ; and hardly 
had the breath left his body when Charles ran to seek 
his mother at Toledo, and, with tears and embraces 
on both sides, a reconciliation was effected. It had 
all been the wicked bastard's fault, and henceforward 
all would go well. 

Mariana managed her triumphant return with tact 
and slaITr~"$fre had left the Court after Valenzuela's 
fall intensely unpopular ; but much had happened since 
then. Don Juan had proved a whitened sepulchre ; 
the detested Austrian match for the King was at an 
end, the cordiality shown by Mariana towards the 
new_ marriage^ pleased^jhe^ people, and a warm wel- 
come greeted her as she rode in state by her son's 
side in the great swaying coach with the curtains 
drawn back, 1 to the palace of the Buen Retiro which 
was to be her residence until her own house was 

All the_Court was eager to know what part Mariana 
would in future tak^-irTtlie government. Would"' she 

1 The leather or damask curtains of the coaches were usually kept 
closed except by confessedly immodest women ; but on such occasions 
as these, they were sometimes opened to satisfy the crowd, who wished 
to welcome royal persons. 


be, as of yore, the sole dispenser of bounty and the 
only fountain of power? Would she avenge herself 
upon Don Juan's friends as he had avenged himself 
upon hers, or would she leave the dominating influence 
to her son's young wife ? Mariana had learnt wisdom 
by experience, and walked warily. She was no lover 
of the French match j_but__ she^ knew that open oppo- 
sitTJoirTo^Tf^woul? alienate' tHe^King aiicT exasperate 
the^country, TanS^sKe^smilingly played the part of the 
fon3~~mother who rejoiced at her son's happiness. 
Everybody, moreover, and especially the King, was 
so busy with the marriage that there was neither time 
nor inclination for politics ; and until the King's de- 
parture to meet his bride he was closeted every day 
in loving converse with his mother, talking only of 
his coming happiness. Fortunately the treasure-fleet 
from America arrived in the nick of time, and, for a 
wonder, there was no lack of money, which not only 
added to the good humour of the people, but enabled 
the preparations for the reception of Marie Louise on 
the Spanish side to be made upon a scale approaching 
the costly pageantry of former times. 

The splendid entertainments at Fontainebleau ended 
at last; and on the 2Oth September 1679, the young 
Queen rode out of the beautiful park on the first stage 
of the long voyage to her new country. She sat 
silently in the coach with King Louis and his wife, 
and the one man upon whom her heart was set, the 
young Dauphin, whose eyes were red with tears. At 
La Chapelle, two leagues from Fontainebleau, the long 
cavalcade stopped, for here Marie Louise was to take 
an eternal farewell of most of those she loved. As 
she stepped from Queen Maria Theresa's carriage and 
entered one belonging to the King that was to bear 


her to the frontier, every eye was wet with tears, and 
the common folk who witnessed the leave-taking cried 
aloud with grief. Only Marie Louise, with fixed face 
andjstony eyes, was mute. But when the last farewell 
was said, and the Queen's carriage with the Dauphin 
turned to leave, one irrepressible wail of sorrow was 
wrung from the heart of the poor girl, as she sank 
back fainting upon the cushions of the carriage by her 
father's side. 1 

Through France, by short stages, and followed by 
a great household under the Duke of Harcourt and 
the Marechale Clerambant, as mistress of the robes, 
the young Queen made her way, splendidly enter- 
tained by the cities through which she passed ; for 
to them the marriage meant peace with Spain, and 
rich and poor blessed her for her beauty and her 
sacrifice. The Marquis of Balbeses, the Spanish am- 
bassador and his wife, a Colonna, rode in her train, and 
at Poictiers the latter brought her the news of Don 
Juan's unregretted death. The Marchioness happened 
to be wearing a black silk handkerchief at her neck ; 
and, lightly touching it, and smiling, she said : * This 
is all the mourning I am going to wear for him.' 2 
Thenceforward to the sad end Marie Louise had to 
deal with those who, with smiling face and soft 
speeches, were secretly bent upon her ruin ; and she, 
a bright beauty full of strength and the joy of life, 
hungry for the love that had been denied her, was no 
match, even if she had cared to struggle with them, 
for the false hearts and subtle brains that planned the 
shipwreck of her life. 

The household of the new Queen, which had been 

1 ' Description de las circunstancias/ etc. Madrid, 1679. 

2 Ibid. 


chosen by Don Juan before his death, started from the 
capital towards the frontier on the 26th September, 
and already intrigue was rife amongst the courtiers to 
gairi^ascendencyover the young consort of the King. 
The master of the household, the Marquis of Astorga, 
was mainly famous for his gallantry, and had been a 
firm friend of Don Juan ; whilst the mistress of the 
robes, the Duchess of Terranova in her own right, 
was a stern grand dame of sixty, whose experience, 
like that of Astorga, had been principally Italian, and 
of whom some whispered that ' she knew more about 
carbines and daggers than about thimbles and needles.' 1 
However that may be, she was imperious and puncti- 
lious to the last degree, but kept Marie Louise in the 
right way as she understood it ; though, as we shall 
see, the roughness of her methods disgusted the young 
Queen and hastened the inevitable catastrophe. 2 Close 
upon the heels of the official household went some of 

1 ' Semanario Erudito,' vol. ii., where a pamphlet of the period is re- 
produced accusing her of complicity in the murder of her cousin, Don 
Diego de Aragon. 

2 The lively Mme. D'Aulnoy gives a description of a scene previous to 
the departure of the young Queen's household from Madrid. The ladies 
had been privately mustered in the Retiro Gardens for the King to see 
how they would look mounted when they entered the capital in state with 
the Queen. ' The young ladies of the palace were quite pretty, but, good 
God ! what figures the Duchess of Terranova and Dona Maria de Aragon 
cut. They were both mounted on mules, all bristling and clanking with 
silver, and with a great saddle cloth of black velvet, like those used by 
physicians on their horses in Paris. They were both dressed in widows' 
weeds, which I have already described to you, both very ugly and very 
old, with an air of severity and imperiousneSs, and they wore great hats 
tied on by strings under their chins. There were twenty gentlemen 
around them holding them up, for fear they should fall, though they 
would never have allowed one to touch them thus unless they had been 
in fear of breaking their necks. * Voyage d'Espagne.' The same authority 
says that the Duchess of Terranova alone took with her on the journey, 
'six litters of different coloured embroidered velvet, and forty mules 
caparisoned as richly as ever I have seen.' 


Mariana's friends, especially the Duke of Osuna, ap- 
pointed Grand Equerry, and an Italian priest, who 
aspired to the post of Queen's confessor ; and even 
before she entered Spain began to whisper to Marie 
Louise political counsels intended to betray her. 

Once again on the historic banks of the Bidasoa, and 
on the island of Pheasants that had seen so many regal 
meetings, sumptuous pavilions of silk brocade and 
tapestry were erected. Marie Louise at St. Jean de 
Luz, a few miles away, was sick at heart, in spite of 
all the splendour that surrounded her ; and she could 
not suppress her tears as she stood upon the last foot 
of French soil she was ever to touch, ready to enter 
the gilded barge that was to cross the few feet of water 
that separated her from the little gaily decked neutral 
island where the Marquis of Astorga was to receive 
her on bended knee as his sovereign mistress. 

The_rnle of the, formidable old Duchess_.of. Terra- 
nova began the moment Marie Louise stepped into the 
barge that was to land her on the Spanish bank. The 
Queen was dressed in the graceful garb that prevailed 
in the Court of Lous xiv. The soft yielding skirts and 
square cut bodice with abundance of fine lace at neck 
and wrists were coquettishly feminine. The bright 
brown hair of the bride was curled and frizzed at the 
sides and on the brow, in artful little ringlets, and all 
this grace and prettiness looked to the Spanish ladies 
of the old school indecorous, if not positively indecent. 
Their vast widehooped farthingales, of heavy brocade, 
their long flat bodices, their stiff unbendable sleeves, 
and in the case of younger ladies, their hair, lank and 
uncurled, falling upon their shoulders, except where it 
was parted at the side and gathered with a bow of 
ribbon over one temple, formed an entire contrast to 


the French feminine fashions of the time ; and until 
Marie Louise donned the Spanish garb, and did her 
hair in Spanish style, the D u^heasjaLXer rano va looked 
with grave disapproval at her mistress. 

AfteT the whole party had attended the Te Deum 
at I run the journey south began, though not before a 
desperate fight for precedence had taken place between 
the Duke of Osuna and the Marquis of Astorga, a 
struggle that was renewed on every opportunity until 
the Duke was recalled to the King's side. Long ere 
this the young King's impatience to meet his bride 
had over-ridden all the dictates of etiquette, and he 
had started on his journey northward on the 23rd 
October, before even Marie Louise had entered Spain. 
To one of those witty French ladies who, at the time, 
wrote such excellent letters, we are indebted for in- 
valuable information on the events of the next two 
years, and the letters of Mme. de Villars, wife of the 
French ambassador, will furnish us with many vivid 
pictures. Writing from Madrid the day before Marie 
Louise entered Spain (2nd November 1679) Mme. de 
Villars says : ' M. Villars had started to join the King, 
who is going in search of the Queen with such im- 
petuosity that it is impossible to follow him. If she 
has not arrived at Burgos when he reaches there, he 
is determined to take the Archbishop of Burgos and 
go as far as Vitoria, or to the frontier, if needs be, to 
marry the Princess. He was deaf to all advice to the 
contrary, he is so completely transported with love and 
impatience. So with these dispositions, no doubt the 
young Queen will be happy. The Queen Dowager is 
very good and very reasonable, and passionately desires 
that she (Marie Louise) should be contented.' l 

1 < Letters de Mme. de Villars.' Paris, 1823. 


As the royal couple approached each other, almost 
daily messages of affection and rich gifts passed 
between them. First went from Marie Louise a 
beautiful French gold watch, with a flame-coloured 
ribbon, which she assured the love-lorn Charles had 
already encircled her neck. On the 9th November 
she reached Onate, where she passed the night, and 
sent from there a miniature of herself on ivory set 
with diamonds, and with this went a curious letter, 1 
now published for the first time, touching upon a 
subject which afterwards became one of the principal 
sources of Marie Louise's troubles in Spain. The 
letter is in Spanish, and in the Queen's own writing, 
a large, bold hand, full of character. The Queen told 
Balbeses in Paris that she had learnt Spanish in order 
to talk it with Queen Maria Theresa, but did not 
speak it much. The present letter was .probably, 
therefore, drafted or corrected in draft before she 
wrote it (perhaps by Mme. de Clarembant, who spoke 
Spanish), as there are no serious errors of syntax 
in it. 

'If I were ruled by the impulses of my heart 
alone, I should be sending off couriers to your 
Majesty every instant. I send to you now Sergeant 
Cicinetti, whom I knew at the Court of France, and 
his great fidelity also to your Majesty's service. I 
pray you receive him with the same kindness that I 
send him. My heart, sire, is so overflowing with 
gratitude that your Majesty will see it in all the acts 
of my life. They wished to make me believe that 
your Majesty disapproved of my riding on horseback, 
but Remille (?), who has just come from your Majesty, 

1 Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MSS. C., 1-5, transcribed by the present 


assures me that just the contrary is the case, especially 
as for these bad roads horses are the best. As my 
greatest anxiety is to please your Majesty, I will do as 
you wish ; for my whole happiness is that your 
Majesty should be assured that I shall only like that 
which you like. God grant you many years of life, as 
I desire and need. Onate, 9th November. Your 
Niece and Servant, MARIE LOUISE.' 

In fact, the Duchess of Terranova, from the first 
day, had been remonstrating with the Queen against 
her insisting upon riding a great horse over the 
wretched rain- soaked tracts that did duty for roads. 
Spanish ladies, she was told, travelled in closely- 
curtained carriages or litters, or, in case of urgent 
need, upon led mules, but never upon horses thus : 
and Marie Louise, who was a splendid horsewoman, 
had excusably defended the custom of the Court in 
which she had been reared. This was the first cause 
of disagrejeinenx^between Marie Louise and Tier 
mistress of the robe^but_others quickly followed. 

WKTTsTDharles w^simpatiently awaiting his bride 
at Burgos, Marie Louise travelled slowly with her 
great train of French and Spanish courtiers over the 
miry roads and through the drenching winter of 
northern Spain. Already her daily passages of arms 
with the Duchess of Terranova had filled her with 
apprehension and anxiety. M. de Villars met her at 
Briviesca, and found her ' full of inquietude and 
mistrust, and perceived that the change of country, 
and people and manners, enough to embarrass a more 
experienced person than she, and the cabals and 
intrigues that assailed her on every hand, had plunged 
her into a condition of agitation which made her fear 
everything without knowing upon whom she could 


depend.' 1 The ambassador did his best to tranquillise 
her. All these people, he said, were intriguing in 
their own interests. She need not trouble about them : 
only let her love the King and live in harmony with 
the Queen- Mother, whom she would find full of 
affection for her, and all would be well. It is clear 
that Don Juan's faction had not died with him, and 
even at this early stage the household, mainly 
appointed by him, had done their best to make Marie 
Louise fear and dread her mother-in-law. 

On the 1 8th November, the day after her interview 
with Villars, the bride arrived at Quintanapalla, within 
a few miles of Burgos, where she was to pass the 
night ; the ostensible intention of the Spaniards being 
that the marriage should take place at Burgos the 
next day. Everything was done to lead the official 
Frenchmen to believe this ; but Villars and Harcourt 
were suspicious ; and early on the morning of the iQth, 
they arrived from Burgos at the miserable poverty- 
stricken village where Marie Louise had passed the 
night. Assembled there they found members of the 
King's household, and taxed the Duchess of Terranova 
with the intention of carrying through the royal 
marriage there. She replied haughtily that the King 
had so commanded, and had given orders that no one 
was to attend the wedding, but the few Spanish officers 
and witnesses strictly necessary. The two noble 
Frenchmen indignantly announced their intention of 
attending the ceremony, in obedience to the orders 
of their own King Louis, whether the Spaniards liked 
it or not. The imperious old lady thereupon flew into 
a towering rage ; ' et dit beaucoup de choses hors de 
propos? and the ambassadors, declining to quarrel with 

1 * Me'moires de la Cour d'Espagne,' par M. de Villars. 


an angry woman, sent a courier galloping to Burgos to 
demand leave for the official representatives of France 
to witness the marriage of a French princess. 1 

At eleven o'clock in the morning, the King himself 
arrived at the poor hamlet of ten houses, and at the 
door of the apartment where she had lodged his 
beautiful bride met him. She looked radiant, ' in a 
beautiful French costume covered with a surprising 
quantity of gems,' 2 though Charles told her the next 
day that he infinitely preferred her with the Spanish 
garb and coiffure, which she usually assumed thence- 
forward. On the threshold of the squalid labourer's 
cottage, Marie Louise made as if to kneel and kiss the 
King's hand ; but he stepped forward and raised her. 
Unfortunately, thanks to his mumbling speech and her 
agitation, and small familiarity with spoken Spanish, 
they soon found that conversation was impossible 
without an interpreter, and Villars stepped into the 
breach and said the mutual words of greeting between 
the husband and wife. 3 

But whilst he was doing this courtly service, his 
keen eyes saw that the humble living chamber of the 
cottage, where the ceremony of marriage was to take 
place, was being filled by Spanish grandees, who had 
ranged themselves in the place of honour on the right 
hand. Louis had broken down the old Spanish claim 

1 ' Me"moires.' Villars. 

2 Lettres de Mme. Villars. 

3 Mme. D'Aulnoy thus describes the King's appearance at this first 
interview with his bride : * I have heard that the Queen was extremely 
surprised at his appearance. He had a very short, wide jacket (just 
au corps} of grey barracan ; his breeches were of velvet, and his stockings 
of very loose spun silk. He wore a very beautiful cravat which the 
Queen had sent him, but it was fastened rather too loosely. His hair 
was put behind his ears, and he wore a light grey hat.' ' Voyage 
d'Espagne.' La Haye, 1692. 


to precedence before other nations, and Villars at once 
demanded for Harcourt and himself the pre-eminent 
place. Under protest, and with evil grace, the 
grandees were obliged to make way for the French- 
men ; and there, in the squalid room, at mid-day, with 
grey skies looming overhead, and the drizzling rain 
dimming the tiny windows, Charles King of Spain was 
married to Marie Louise of Orleans. 1 

An impromptu dinner was served immediately 
afterwards to the King and Queen ; and at two o'clock 
in the afternoon they entered the big coach that 
awaited them, and the whole caravan floundered 
through the mud to the city of Burgos. The next 
morning early the bride left the city privately to dine 
at the neighbouring convent of Las Huelgas, and 
thence to make her state entry on horseback, and 
dressed in Spanish fashion. Then, for three days, 
the usual round of masquerades, bull-fights, and 
comedies, kept the Court amused, and the dreaded 
hour of parting from her French train came to Marie 
Louise. Loaded with fine presents and rewards from 
the King, the great ladies and gallant gentlemen who 
had kept up the spirits of the Queen, now perforce 
turned their faces towards the north again, and, as 
Marie Louise saw the French carriages depart, her 
composure gave way, and she broke into a paroxysm 
of tears. 

Spaniards generally, and especially the King, saw 
the French courtiers depart with delight. For years 
the two countries had been constantly at war. The 
splendour of France had grown proportionately:^^ 
poverty and impotence had fallen upon Spain. Old 

1 A note on a previous page explains the reason why these small villages 
were chosen for the marriage ceremonies of the Kings of Spain. 


ambitions and vengeful hate were not dead, and many 
Spaniards still dreamed of dictating to the world if 
only France could be checked. At every step Marie 
Louise, who loved France with all her heart, and had 
been forced to leave it, as she was told, to serve its 
interests, was reminded that she must forget the dear 
land of her youth and think only of her husband's 
realm. It was too much to expect that she would do 
TtTTmcTit is fair to say that she did not try. She was 
a blithe, gay-hearted girl, in the full flower of youth 
and strength, not yet eighteen : the pleasures of 
Versailles and St Cloud had hitherto filled her life, 
and here in stern Spain, surrounded by sinister 
intrigues she did not understand, and married to this 
degenerate anaemic creature by her side, she did her 
BesTTcPpTay her part properly ; but she was French 
to~her inmost-soul, and she would not forget her own 
folk andTTeTolcTTiolne. The harsh Duchess of Terra- 
no^a~lnigrirtnsist upon the bright brown curls being 
brushed wet till they hung flat and lank, and might 
cram the beautiful round bosom into the hideous flat 
corset demanded by Spanish fashion ; but even she 
could not quite silence the frank, careless laugh, or 
suppress the triumphant coquetry of a Parisian 
beauty overflowing with the sensuousness of maturing 

During the stay at Burgos, and afterwards, the 
Duchess of Terranoya kept urgingjjgonjhe_jiarrow, 
suspicious King that his new wife was a young woman 
of free and easy manners, entirely opposed to Spanish 
ideas of decorum, and that he must keep a tight rein 
upon her. She laid it down, moreover, that the girl 
mOst receive no visits of any sort until after her State 
entry into Madrid, which would mean some six weeks 


of complete isolation. 1 At Torrejon de Ardoz, a few 
miles from Madrid, Charles and his wife were met by 
Mariana. The Queen-Mother was wiser and deeper 
than the Mistress of the Robes ; and instead of 
frightening her daughter-in law she was outwardly all 
kindness and sweetness to her. As we shall see in 
the course of this history, the Terranova way, harsh 
as it was, was less disastrous to Marie Louise than 
the policy of letting her go her own way, and then 
holding her up to reprobation. 

Mme. Villars records the coming of the newly- 
married pair to the Buen Retire palace, where the 
Queen was to remain whilst the preparations were 
made for her state entry some weeks later. ' Le roi 
et la reine viennent seuls dans un grand carosse sans 
glace, a la mode dupays. II sera fort heureux pour 
eux qu'ils soient comme leur carosse. 2 On dit que la 
reine fait tres bien : pour le roi, comme il etait fort 
amoreux avant que de Favoir vue, sa presence ne peut 
qu'avoir augment^ sa passion.' 

Marie Louise had now no Frenchwomen with her but 
two r oIcT nurses and two maids of inferior rank; and 
so"me~Hays"after line had arrived at the Buen Retiro 
she begged that Madame Villars, the ambassador's 
wife, might be allowed to come and raise her spirits 
by a chat in French. The Duchess of Terranova was 
shocked, and refused. Neither man nor woman, she 
said, should see the Queen until the state entry. 
Marie Louise then tried her husband. Might not the 
ambassadress come in strict incognito ? He seems 
to have consented, and the Queen joyously sent word 

1 ' Me"moires.' Villars. 

2 It will be seen that the sprightly letter- writer indulges here in an 
untranslatable pun. The carriage was without glass = glace, and she 
hoped the occupants would be without ice = glace. 

2 E 


to Mme. Villars ; but Villars was aware of the jealousy 
in the palace, and before allowing his wife to go, com- 
municated with the Duchess of Terranova. She knew 
nothing, she said, of such a permission, nor would she 
inquire, and the Queen should see no one whilst she 
remained at the Retiro. 

Secret means were found for letting Marie Louise 
know why her countrywoman did not respond to the 
invitation ; but a few days afterwards Mme. Villars 
went to the Retiro, doubtless by appointment, to pay 
her respects to the Queen-Mother Mariana. She found 
her everything that was kind and amiable. * Have 
you seen my daughter-in-law yet ? ' the Queen-Mother 
asked. * She is so anxious to see you, and will receive 
you when you like : to-morrow if you wish.' This 
was a great victory over the Duchess of Terranova, 
for Marie Louise had seen not a soul but the in- 
habitants of the Retiro since she entered it. Only 
two days before the Marchioness of Balbases, the late 
ambassadress in France, who, though an Italian, was 
married to a Spanish grandee, had gone to the apart- 
ment of the Mistress of the Robes to beg an audience 
of the Queen. The latter, hearing her friend's voice, 
had run into the room from her own adjoining chamber; 
but the moment the scandalised Duchess of Terranova 
caught sight of her she seized her roughly by the arm 
and pushed her into her own apartment again. ' These 
manners,' says Mme. Villars in recounting the incident, 
' are not so extraordinary here as they would be any- 
where else.' 1 

1 Writing of this period, Mme. D'Aulnoy, who professes to have been 
in Madrid at the time, says that the Marchioness de la Fuente told her 
that : ' the Queen had been much upset at the roughness of the Mistress 
of the Robes, who, seeing that her Majesty's hair did not lie flat on the 
forehead, spat into her hand and approached for the purpose of sticking 


The French ambassadress lost no time in availing 
herself of the Queen- Mother's hint ; and on the follow- 
ing day went to the Retiro. The account of her visit 
to the Queen may best be told in her own racy words : 
' I entered by the apartment of the Mistress of the 
Robes, who received me with all sorts of civility. 
She took me through some little passages to a gallery, 
where I expected to see only the Queen, but, to my 
great surprise, I found myself before the whole royal 
family. The King was seated in a great arm-chair, 
and the two Queens on cushions. The Mistress of 
the Robes kept hold of my hand, telling me as we 
advanced how many courtesies I had to make, and 
that I must begin with the King. She brought me 
up so close to his Majesty's chair that I did not know 
what she wished me to do. For my part, I thought 
nothing more was required of me than a low courtesy ; 
and, without vanity, I may remark that he did not 
return it, though he seemed not sorry to see me. 
When I told M. de Villars about it afterwards, he 
said no doubt the Mistress of the Robes expected me 
to kiss the King's hand. I thought so myself, but I 
felt no inclination to do so. ... There I was then, in 
the midst of these three Majesties. The Queen- 
Mother, as on the previous day, said many agreeable 
things, and the young Queen seemed very much 
pleased to see me, though I did my best that she 
should show it in a discreet way. The King has a 
little Flemish dwarf who understands and speaks 

the straying lock down with saliva. The Queen resented his warmly, 
and rubbed hard with her pocket handkerchief upon the spot where this 
old woman had so dirtily wetted her forehead. ... It is really quite' 
pitiable the way this old Mistress of the Robes treats the Queen. I know 
for a fact that she will not allow her to have a single hair curled, and 
forbids her to go near a window or speak to a soul.' 'Voyage d'Espagne.' 


French very well, and he helped the conversation 
considerably. They brought one of the young ladies 
in a farthingale, that I might examine the machine. 1 
The King had me asked what I thought of it, and I 
replied, through the dwarf, that I did not believe it 
was ever invented for a human form. He seemed 
very much of my opinion. They brought me a 
cushion, upon which I sat only for a moment in 
obedience to the sign made to me, but I took an 
opportunity immediately afterwards to rise, as I saw 
so many " ladies of honour " standing, and I did not 
wish to offend them; though the Queens repeatedly 
told me to be seated. The young Queen had a col- 
lation served by her ladies on their knees ladies of 
the most splendid names, such as Aragon, Castile and 
Portugal. The Queen- Mother took chocolate and the 
King nothing. The young Queen, as you may 
imagine, was dressed in Spanish fashion, the dress 
being made of some of the lovely stuffs she brought 
with her from France. She was beautifully coiffde, 
her hair being brought diagonally across the brow, 
and the rest falling loose over her shoulders. She has 
an admirable complexion, very fine eyes, and a be- 
witching mouth when she laughs. And what a thing 
it is to laugh in Spain ! The gallery is rather long, 
the walls being covered with crimson damask or velvet, 
studded all over very close with gold trimmings. From 
one end to the other the floor is laid with the most 
lovely carpet I ever saw in my life, and on it there 
are tables, cabinets and brasiers, candlesticks being 
upon the tables. Every now and then very grandly 

1 It was a hooped skirt of peculiar shape, fashionable in Spain, called 
a guardainfante, of which a specimen may be seen in the portrait of 
Mariana in the present volume. 


dressed maids come in, each with two silver candle- 
sticks, to replace others taken out for snuffing. These 
maids make very great, long courtesies, with much 
grace. A good way from the Queens there were 
some maids of honour sitting on the floor, and many 
ladies of advanced age, in the usual widow's garb, 
were leaning standing against the wall. 

'The King and Queen left in three quarters of an 
hour, the King walking first. The young Queen took 
her mother-in-law by the hand leading her to the door 
of the gallery, and then she turned back quickly, and 
came to rejoin me. The Mistress of the Robes did 
not return, and it was evident that they had given the 
Queen full liberty to entertain me. There was only 
one old lady in the gallery, a long way off, and the 
Queen said that if she was not there she would give me 
a good hug. It was four o'clock when I arrived, and 
half-past seven before I left, and then it was I who 
made the first move. I can assure you I wish the King, 
the Queen-Mother and the Mistress of the Robes could 
have heard all I said to the Queen. I wish you could 
have heard it too, and have seen us walking up and 
down that gallery, which the lights made very agree- 
able. This young Queen, in the novelty and beauty 
of her garments, and with an infinitude of diamonds, 
was simply ravishing. Once for all do not forget that 
black and white are not more dissimilar than France and 
Spain. I think our young Princess is doing very well. 
She wished to see me every day, but I implored her 
to excuse me, unless I saw clearly that the King and 
the Queen-Mother wished it as much as she did. . . . 
The Mistress of the Robes came to meet me as I left 
the gallery, and I found there the Queen's French 
attendants, to whom I said that they must learn 


Spanish, and avoid, if possible, saying a word of 
French to the Queen. I know that they are scolded 
for speaking it too much to her.' 1 

In thejdejic^ tf^z^^ described 

abov^^a_rig_Xouise^jthough she^did her best jcTjje 
patient, begged earnestly that her countrywoman 
should be allowed to see her often. But Mme. Villars 
pointedfout to her how much depended upon her 
prudence, and avoided the palace whenever possible, 
in the hope that the young Queen would fall into 
Spanish ways. The King also, in his half-witted 
way, tried to please his lovely wife : ' more beautiful 
and agreeable,' says Mme. Villars, 'than any lady of 
her Court,' giving her many exquisite presents of 
jewellery, and running in and out of her apartments 
to tell her bits of news, and so on. But the life was 
deadly dull ; and the gloom within the palace could, 
as Mme. Villars says, be seen, tasted and touched. 
Charles had no amusements other than the most 
childish games and trivial pastimes : his intellect was 
not capable of sustaining a reasonable conversation, 
and after a day of stiff monotony, he and his wife went 
to bed every night at half-past eight, the moment they 
had finished supper : ' with the last morsel still in their 
mouths,' as Mme, Villars writes. 

There was some eager talk of the Queen's pregnancy 
before the grand State entry into Madrid ; but when 
that hope disappeared, and Marie Louise began to 
languish alarmingly in the dull incarceration of the 
Retire, she and her husband sufficiently relaxed their 
surroundings to go to the hunting palace of the Pardo, 
six miles away, where the young Queen could ride her 
French horses, and Charles could enjoy himself with a 

1 ' Lettre de Mme. Villars k Mme. Coulange,' I5th December 1679. 


little pigsticking. At length the great day for the 
public entry into the capital came on the I3th January 
1680. Madrid, as usual, had squandered money sorely 
needed for bread in gaudy shows. At every street 
corner arose monuments and arches of imitation marble; 
and all the heathen mythology was ransacked for far- 
fetched compliments to the people's new idol. The 
King and his mother leaving the Retiro in the morn- 
ing took up a position in the central balcony of the 
Onate palace, still standing, in the Calle Mayor ; and 
at noon Marie Louise on a beautiful chestnut palfrey 
issued from the gates of the Buen Retiro, where the 
aldermen of the town stood awaiting her with the 
canopy of state, under which she was to ride to the 

Preceded by trumpeters and the knights of the royal 
orders, by her household and by the grandees of Spain, 
all in garments of dazzling magnificence, rode the most 
beautiful woman in Spain, gorgeously dressed in gar- 
ments so richly embroidered with gold that their colour 
was hidden, and covered with precious stones, but 
withal, as a Spanish eyewitness observes, ' more 
beautifully adorned by her loveliness and grace than 
by the rich habit that she wore.' Her horse was led 
by the Marquis of Villamayna, her chief equerry ; and 
after her came a great train of ladies led by the Duchess 
of Terranova, all mounted on draped led mules. As 
the new Queen passed the Onate palace she smiled 
and bowed low to the King and his mother, who could 
be dimly seen behind the nearly closed jalousies ; and 
went triumphantly forward, conquering all hearts by 
the power of her radiant beauty. 1 But though she, 

1 1 Nouvelle relation de la magnifique et royale entre'e ... a Madrid 
par Marie Louise/ etc. Paris, 1680. 


poor soul, knew it not, more was needed than careless 
beauty to win the battle in which she was engaged, a 
battle not of hearts but of subtle crafty brains. 

Bullfights, with grandees as toreros, masquerades, 
cane-tourneys, and the inevitable religious pageantry, 
at all of which Marie Louise, glittering with gems, took 
her place, ran their usual course ; and at the end of 
a week after the entry the Queen began her regular 
married life in the old Alcazar on the cliff, more gloomy 
and monotonous, even, than the Retiro, in its gardens 
on the other side of the capital. 

The political intrigues, though they had never ceased, 
had been naturally somewhat abated during the Queen's 
voyage and subsequent seclusion : but as soon as the 
maTriage feasts were over the struggle began in 
earnest. Charles, absorbed in his courtship and 
I 7narriage, had appointed no minister to succeed Don 
Juan, the necessary administrative duties being per- 
formed by a favourite of his, Don Jeronimo de Eguia, 
a man of no jposition or ability ; and the first bone of 
contention was the appointment of the man who was 
really to rule Spain. The old party of the Queen- 
Mother inclined to a Board of Government, headed by 
the Constable of Castile ; but Mariana, in appearance, 
at least, held herself aloof, and the minister ultimately 
chosen by the King was the first noble in Spain, the 
Duke of Medina Cell, an easy going, idle, amiable 
magnate, who had sided with Don Juan ; but whose 
gentle manners had convinced the King that he would 
not tyrannise over him as Don Juan had done. The 
Duchess of Terranova and most of the household 
whispered constantly to the young Queen distrust and 
suspicion of Mariana ; and after her state entry they 
encouraged her as much as possible to see the French 


ambassadress constantly. The Queen- Mother, they 
said, had been continually with the German ambassador 
and his wife talking German, why should not Marie 
Louise do the same with the French ambassador. 
But both Villars and his wife were wary, and saw that 
they were to be used to form a French party at Court 
to oppose the Queen- Mother and the Austrians, and 
this they were not at present inclined to do. 

Villars himself constantly reiterates that the Queen- 
Mother was quite sincere in her professions of affection 
for her daughter-in-law, and he and his wife lost no 
opportunity of urging Marie Louise to respond cor- 
dially to her mother-in-law's loving advances. The 
diplomatist attributes to Mariana, indeed, at this time, 
sentiments which her whole history seems to falsify, 
and it appears far more probable that Marie Louise 
was right than the ambassador when she looked askance 
at the tenderness of her husband's mother. The old 
Queen, says Villars, was discontented with the way 
her Austrian kinsmen had treated her, and leaned now 
to the side of France, which had been friendly with 
her in her exile ; she sincerely loved her daughter-in- 
law and hoped that her son would have children to 
succeed him by his beautiful wife. Villars, indeed, 
casts the whole of the blame upon Marie Louise, who, 
he says probably quite truly was lacking in judg- 
ment, decision^^^gejierosity^and hesitated too late 
between theTDuchess of Terranova, who constantly 
warned her against the Queen-Mother, and the French 
ambassador and others who strove to persuade her to 
make common cause with her mother-in-law, and rule 
all thin^sjojLQily with her. 1 

The nearest approach to common action of the two 

1 ' Mdmoires de la Cour d'Espagne.' Villars. 


Queens was when they both persuaded Charles to 
appoint the weak, idle, Medina Celi as minister ; but, 
in this, and in all the other manifestations of Mariana's 
conciliatory amiability at the time and after, it is 
unquestionable that the measures and men she smiled 
upon were such as would, and did, inevitably lead to a 
state of things in which her firm hand would become 
indispensable. The effects of the utter ineptitude of 
such a government as that of Charles and Medina 
Celi were soon seen. The coin had been tampered 
with to such an extent as to have no fixed value, 
provisions were at famine price, and the attempt to fix 
low values of commodities by decree aroused a 
sanguinary revolt in Madrid in the early spring of 
i^58o, that nearly overthrew the wretched government 
such as it was. Bandits infested the high roads, half 
the work of the country was done by foreigners, 
whilst Spaniards starved in idleness, or lived by prey- 
ing upon the comparatively few who still had 

In this abject state of affairs, the King gave but a 
uarter of an hour daily to his public duties, which 
were limited to stamping his signature on decrees 
placed before him, for he had neither the industry to 
read them nor the intellect to understand them ; and 
the rest of his time was spent on the most puerile 
frivolity and in endless visits with Marie Louise to 
convents and churches. ' Such visits,' says Mme. 
Villars, ' are anything but a feast for her. She insisted 
upon my going with her the last two days. As I 
knew nobody, I was very much bored, and I believe 
she only asked me to go in order to keep her in 
countenance. The King and Queen are seated in 
two arm chairs, the nuns sitting at their feet, and 


many ladies come to kiss their hands. The collation 
is brought, the Queen's repast always being a roast 
capon, which she eats whilst the King gazes at her, 
and thinks that she eats too much. There are two 
dwarfs who do all the talking.' 

A very few weeks of this idle life and good living 
worked its effect _upon Marie Loujse. In February 
1680, Mme. Villars writes: 'She has grown so fat, 
that if it goes much further, her face will be round. 
Her bosom, strictly speaking, is already too full ; 
although it is one of the most beautiful I have ever 
seen. She usually sleeps ten or twelve hours, and 
eats meat four times a day. It is true that her break- 
fast and her luncheon (collation) are her best meals. 
She always has served for lunch a capon boiled and 
broth, and a roast capon. She laughs very much 
when I have the honour to be with her. I am quite 
sure that it is not I who am sufficiently agreeable to 
put her into such a good humour, and that she must be 
pretty comfortable generally. No one could behave 
better than she does, or be sweeter and more com- 
plaisant with the King. She saw his portrait before 
she married him, but they did not paint his strange 
humour, nor his love of solitude. The customs of the 
country have not all been turned upside down to make 
them more agreeable for her, but the Queen-Mother 
does everything she can to soften them. All sensible 
people think that the young Queen could not do better 
than contribute on her side to the tenderness and 
affection that the Queen- Mother shows for her. . . . 
When I tell you that she is fat, that she sleeps 
well and laughs heartily, I tell you no more than 
the truth ; but it is no less true that the life she 
leads does not please her. . . . But, after all, she 


is doing wonderfully, and I am quite astonished 
at it.' 1 

Already we see by this, that before Marie Louise 
had been in Madrid three months, she was going her 
own way, and was being humoured to the top of her 
bent by Mariana. She had been sold into a slavery 
of utter boredom, married to a degenerate imbecile ; 
and she had neither brains, heart, nor ambition to take 
a leading part in politics, or to play the role that she 
was intended to fill in Spain by her uncle Xing Louis. 
Afrtrlat was left for her, then, was to eat, drink, sleep, 
and be as merry as her grim surroundings would 
allow ; and let the world wag as it would. The 
society of the capital and Court had reached the 
lowest degree of decadence ; and a strong, high- 
minded Queen would have found ample work in 
reducing at least her own household to decency. 
Every lady in the palace and elsewhere had a gallant, 
and was proud of it ; and it was a universal practice in 
theatres and public places, or even at windows looking 
upon the street, for lovers to converse openly in 
the language of signs. Irnmorality and vice had 
reached such a terrible pitch that mere children who 
could afford it lived in concubinage, and few people, 
high or low, were free from preventible disease. 2 

Marie Louise, utterly frivolous, made no attempt to 
reform all this, but swam with the stream, taking part 
in the King's puerile pleasures of throwing eggshells 
full of scent at people, or playing with him for hours 
at his favourite game of spilikens for pence. Mariana 
looked on at it all quite complacently, Villars and his 
wife thought out of mere amiability. That may have 

1 Lettres de Mme. Villars a Mme. Coulange. 

2 ' Voyage d'Espagne, 5 Mme. D'Aulnoy. For the amount of credit to 
be given to Mme. D'Aulnoy, see note on a previous page. 


been so, but it is clear to see now that all that was 
necessary was to let Marie Louise go her own way 
unchecked, and Mariana had nothing to fear from her 
politically or personally. As an instance of the attitude 
of the Queen-Mother towards the young Queen's 
thoughtlessness, a little circumstance related by Mme. 
Villars may be quoted : ' I was walking in the gallery 
of the Buen Retire on Sunday, before seeing the 
comedy, thinking nothing of kings or queens, when I 
heard our young Princess call out my name very 
loudly. I entered the room whence the voice pro- 
ceeded quite unceremoniously ; and, to my confusion, 
I found the Queen seated between the King and the 
Queen-Mother. She had thought of nothing when 
she called me but her own wish to see me, quite 
regardless of Spanish gravity ; and she burst out 
laughing heartily when she saw me. The Queen- 
Mother reassured me. She is always pleased when 
her daughter-in-law enjoys herself. Indeed, she made 
an opportunity for me to come and talk with her in a 
window recess, but I retired as soon as I could.' To 
encourage Marie Louise to forget for a moment that she 
was a Spanish Queen, was to ensure her downfall. 

Here is another picture of the young Queen a few 
days afterwards. Mme. de Sevigne had written a letter 
talking of Marie Louise's beautiful little feet, with 
which she danced so nimbly at Versailles. The young 
Queen was gratified at the flattery, but ruefully said 
that all her pretty feet were used for now was to walk 
round her chamber a few times, and carry her off to 
bed at half-past eight every night. On this occasion 
Mme. Villars thus describes her : * She was as beauti- 
ful as an angel, weighed down but uncomplaining, by a 
parure of emeralds and diamonds on her head, that is 


to say, a thousand sparks; a furious pair of earrings, 
and in front, and around her, in the form of a scarf, 
rings, bracelets, etc. You think, no doubt, that 
emeralds on her brown hair would not look well, but 
you are mistaken. Her complexion is one of the 
loveliest brunettes ever seen, her throat white, and 
exquisitely beautiful.' 

S ooji^the.,4^qun_Queen > s careless jollity receiveda 
blow, which embittered her. Charles hated and dis- 

TlouTsein making companions of her French maids 
annoyed him exceedingly ; and the lives of the two 
maids whom she liked best were made intolerable to 
them to such an extent that they had to leave. The 
Queen was in despair, but protested and wept in vain : 
the two Frenchwomen were made to understand that 
they had to go ; and when their mistress summoned 
them one morning she was told that they had departed 
from the palace for good, leaving her with only two 
French servants, a nurse and a maid. As usual in 
her trouble, she summoned Mme. Villars, who found 
her lying down. ' She rose at once. It is truly sur- 
prising how beautiful she has grown. She wore her 
hair tied up in great curls on her forehead, with rose- 
coloured ribbons on her cap and on the top of her 
head ; and she was not plastered over with rouge, as 
she is generally obliged to be. Her throat and bosom 
admirable. She slipped on a French dressing-gown, 
which she wore for the rest of the day. She stood 
thus for a short time regarding herself in a great 
mirror, and the view seemed to revive her. Her eyes 
looked as if she had been weeping much. As soon 
as she began to speak to me the King entered the 
room, and it is the rule in such cases for the ladies all 


to leave, except the Mistress of the Robes and some 
servants. I heard cards asked for, and I concluded 
that the Queen was going to be bored to death with 
the little game that the King is so fond of, at which, 
if you have very bad luck, you may lose a dollar. The 
Queen always plays it as if she was enraptured with 
the occupation.' 

The loss of two of her French attendants drew 
Marie~Cguise_eveFcloser to MmerViHars^ who was a 
person of matureage, but, to~Tier"Ta't'er""regret l she 
gracTuaUy lost some of the reserve that at first she 
had considered prudent in her communications with 
the Queen. Mariana smiled upon the constant com- 
panionship of hef"daiighter-in-law with the French 
ambassadress, but she must have known, for she was 
experienced and_cjfeYi^^^* : ^ : ~wQuld end_in_disaster 

_ __ 

to Marie Louise, whose future depended upoiTpIeasmg 
her"Tmsband and becoming purely SpanishT~ TtTe 
Queen did her best to keep the affection of Charles, 
who, in his own way, was desperately in love with 
her, and on occasions when he had to leave her for 
a day or two she affected desperate sorrow at his 
absence so cleverly as to arouse the admiration of 
Mme. Villars for her good acting. 

But, though she kept the King in alternate fits of 
maudlin devotion and despairing rage at her capricious 
flouting of all the rules and traditions of his Court, 
he himself was politically a cypher, and^ the policy_ 
always favoured by Mariana slowlyjput surely gained 
ground, whilst the French interest grew weaker ; and 
Marie Louise, in spite of her uncle's indignant re^, 
minders^ raised no finger to help the cause she had 
been sent to Spain to champion. If Mariana ever 
had quarrelled with the Emperor, as Villars thought, 


the breach was patched up now, and the Austrian 
ambassador, Count de Grana, an old friend of 
Mariana's, came to draw closer than before the family 
alliance. And yet Mariana ostentatiously abstained 
from any governmental action, whilst all went in the 
way she wished. 

"The first open sign of a return to the old policy of 
religious unity and the Austrian connection was the 
holding of the greatest auto de fe that had taken place 
in ^Madrid for half a century, in June 1580. The 
Plaza Mayor was transformed at a vast expense into 
a great theatre ; all its hundreds of windows were 
filled with the aristocracy of Spain, and the high roofs 
of the houses crowded with people to see the dreadful 
show. All the inquisitors in Spain had been sum- 
moned, and the pulpit, the great tribune for the judges, 
the platform for the bishops, and the fronts of the 
barriers and balconies were covered with costly tapes- 
tries and rich hangings for the occasion. Eighty-five 
grandees and noblemen were proud to act as familiars 
of the Holy Office, and a picked corps of 250 gentle- 
men served as soldiers of the faith, to guard its 
ministers, and each to carry a faggot for the devilish 
bonfire at the gate of Fuencarral after the auto was 

All day long, from early morning till four in the 
afternoon, the King, with Marie Louise and Mariana, 
sat in the principal -balcony of the Panaderia, the 
centre house in the great square, whilst 120 poor 
wretches in sambenitos, with ropes round their necks, 
gags in their mouths, and other insignia of shame, 
were condemned after innumerable ceremonies, sermons 
and rogations, to the tender mercies of the law 
condemning heresy. Charles swore again on the 


gospels to defend and promote the Catholic faith as 
helcT in Spain ; and when the dread sentences were 
pronounced, the captain of the Inquisition Guard 
entered the royal balcony, bearing upon his shield a 
faggot, which was presented to Charles and the Queen, 
the former of whom returned it to the holder, saying : 
' Take it in my name, and let it be the first cast upon 
the fire to burn heretics.' The French ambassador 
and his wife were obliged to be present, for those 
who did not attend were looked upon with suspicion ; 
but they, and all the world, knew that this atrocious 
scene meant the growing power of the traditional ideas 
connected with Austrian friendship and the certainty 
at no distant period of a renewal of the war with 

Paltry questions of diplomatic precedence and privi- 
lege, the haughty encroaching spirit of Louis xiv., and 
the utter abandonment of even current affairs by the 
Spanish government, under lazy Medina Celi, widened 
daily the breach between France and Spain. Villars 
and his wife, according tc the evidence now before 
us, appear to have misunderstood entirely who were 
their real friends and foes in the palace. Mariana 
was all amiability to them, constantly urging that the 
ambassadress should be much with Marie Louise, and 
openly disapproving of the harsh manners of the 
Duchess of Terranova, who was always, says Villars, 
abusing the French and turning the King's dislike to 
his wife's countrymen into unreasoning hatred. The 
ambassador therefore believed that the Duchess was 

really the enemy of the ynnng Onppn and thp Frpnrh 

interest ; but it is unquestionable that in the then 
state of feeling in Spain, the only hope for Marie 
Louise was to keep as far away from her own country- 



men and women as her Mistress of the Robes desired. 
Marie Louise, thoughtless as she was, naturally con-~ 
sidejred this tyrannical and hard. On one occasion a 
French half-witted beggar came to her carriage door, 
and the Queen, speaking French to him, threw him 
some alms ; whereupon the King was so enraged that 
he insisted upon the beggar being arrested, examined 
and expelled the country. Another day the King and 
Queen in their coach passed in the street some Dutch 
gentlemen dressed in French style, whose carriage, 
according to etiquette, had drawn up whilst the royal 
equipage passed. The strangers were on the left side 
of the street, and consequently were nearer the Queen 
than the King, and in their salutations addressed their 
respects to her. Again the King made a violent 
jealous scene, and caused a grave reprimand to be 
addressed to the Dutchmen, who were forbidden ever 
to salute the Queen again. 

In the spring of 1680, on a disputed question of 
etiquette, the King tookjiway some of the diplomatic 
privileges of the French ambassador, and the Duke of 
Orleans wrote to his daughter the Queen, asking her 
to speak to her husband about it. When Marie Louise 
did so, Charles sulkily told her to mind her own busi- 
ness, and not to speak to him on such affairs. She 
pressed her point, however, and he replied : ' They 
will recall this ambassador, and send me another 
gabacho instead.' 1 Some months later, whilst Mme. 
Villars was on one of her frequent visits to the Queen, 
the King, who had taken a special dislike to her, and 
often listened behind the arras to the conversation in 
the hope of detecting an indiscretion, broke out from 
his hiding-place in insulting abuse of the ambassadress. 

1 Gabacho is an opprobrious term applied to Frenchmen in Spain. 


Villars lays all this trouble at the door of the Duchess . 
of Terranova and the Marquis of Astorga, the Queen's 
master of the household, both appointed by Don Juan, 
and praises Mariana to the skies for her gentleness to 
Marie Louise, and her desire that she should have her 
own way and see as many French people as she liked. 1 
After a time the Duchess of Terranova, finding that 
the harshness of her methods, contrasting with trie 
gentleness of her oppents, was destroying her influence, 

mann^rc tfLSOme CXtCHt, and W6Ht SO far 

as to rebuke the King even to scold him when he 
said unkind things to his wife about her countrywomen, 
b^otjiejr__clesire- to mould Marie Louise into the tradi- 
tional Spanish Queen never ceased, and if her advice 
had been followed, unpalatable and cross-grained as it 
was, the unhappy girl would havebeen saved much of 
her misery. Every small device that the King coulcl 
adopt, ^TUlars says on the advice of the Duchess, was 
brought into play to separate the Queen from French 
influence. She was kept so short of money that most 
of he?" beloved horses, which she was not allowed to 
ride, and their French grooms, had to be sent back to 
France, all her French men servants, even her doctor, 
were dismissed, though he, from his name (Dr. Talbot), 
would seem to have been an Englishman. 

In this wretched existence Marie Louise grew 
callous. She_j^k^q_rj^j_^venjto be civil toHErie 
Spanish grand dames who visited her, or to pretend 
to care a jot for the eternal comedies and visits to 
convents that were the only amusements allowed her. 
She played for hours every day at spilikins with the 
King ; ' the worst company in the world, and he never 
had any one with him but his two dwarfs.' She was 

1 ' Mdmoires de la Cour d'Espagne.' Villars. 


careless and buxom, and found some little pleasure in 
attending to her birds, 1 but nothing else ; for she had 
neither brains, nor ambition, nor ideas, worthy of her 
ranjc._ Secretly all she longed for was to return to 
France as a widowed Queen, to enjoy herself as she 
liked without fear. 2 Her one delight was the visit of 
Mme. Villars, who sang French airs with her, or played 
whilst the Queen danced a minuet, or chatted about 
Fontainebleau and St. Cloud. * I do not know,' says 
Mme. Villars, 'what passes in her breast and in her 
head to keep her up so, but, as for her heart, I believe 
that nothing passes there at all.' In these words the 
witty Frenchwoman aptly sums up the character of 
the Queen, doomed to this life of gloomy dulness by 
the side of a semi-imbecile. She had left her heart 
behind her in the land she loved, and her existence 
now was carelessly epicurean. 

The political intrigues went on around her unheeded, 
and* she had not jwjt enough to see he traps JaicLior 
her. The Duchess of Terranova was always dour and 
~3Isagreeable, but her desperate attempts to alienate the 
Queen from all memory of France had now made her 
specially disliked by her mistress, whilst Mariana and 
her friends ostentatiously sided with the young Queen, 
alTct^TterjFecatecTthe severity of the iDuchess. Incited 

1 Mme. D'Aulnoy in her own Mdmoires tells a curious though doubtful 
story of these perroquets of which Marie Louise was so fond. They had 
been brought from Paris, and the few sentences they had been taught 
were in French, so that the Duchess of Terranova thought herself justified 
in having them killed. When the Queen asked for them and learnt their 
fate she said nothing : but when next the Mistress of the Robes came to 
kiss her hand Marie Louise gave her two good sound slaps on the face 
instead. When the indignant Duchess with all her followers went in a 
rage to demand redress of the King, Marie Louise excused herself by 
saying that she gave the slaps overcome by the irresistible influence of a 
pregnant woman. This flattered the King and she was absolved. 

' 2 ' Me'moires de la Cour d'Espagne.' Villars. 


by them Marie Louise determined to get rid if she 
could of the rough old lady who was really her only 
friend, and spoke first to her confidante Mme. Villars 
aEouFit. The ambassador and his wife were as deeply 
resentful of the old Duchess, who hated French people, 
as was the Queen, and were delighted to hear the pro- 
ject for getting rid of her, but Mme. Villars counselled 
prudence ; for she knew how flighty and unstable the 
Queen was. The Duchess, she said, was very clever, 
and such a change as that suggested was without pre- 
cedent in Spain : besides, the Duchess had been later 
somewhat more civil than before ; nevertheless, if the 
Queen really wished for a new mistress of the Robes she 
must begin by mentioning the matter to the King^and 
the Prime Minister, so that the affair might be settled 
before a word of it reached the ears of the Duchess. 

Marie Louise used all her witchery that same night 
when she broached the subject to her husband. He 
answered her, as she said, more sensibly than she had 
expected, and told her that, if really the Duchess made 
her so unhappy, they would make a change ; but it 
was a serious matter, and she must recollect that no 
second change would be possible. Marie Louise then 
approached Queen Mariana, and found her apparently 
cool and indifferent about it, to an extent that some- 
what discouraged the young Queen, who little under- 
stood that there was nothing that her mother-in-law 
desired_rnore than^the removal oTlho n1 y 

checkju^on her conduct. But Medina Celi, the Prime 
Minister, whom the imperious ways ot the old Duchess 
had offended, lent_eager ear to the suggestion when, 
by_the_aid of the Villars, itwasTopened to him "Marie 

Louise, by the advice of Madame Villars, asked that the 
Duchess of Medina Celi might be her new Mistress of 


the Robes, but that lady declined absolutely. Then 
the Marchioness of los Velez and other great ladies were 
suggested ; and when Marie Louise consulted Mariana 
upon each one in turn, the old Queen remained cold 
and aloof, and even had excuses, and good words to 
say about the Duchess of Terranova. 

But when there was a talk of the Duchess of Albu- 
qu^rque, then Mariana took an interest in tKelnatter 
at once, and agreed with Medina Celi that she would 
Be an ideal person for Mistress of the Robes. But, of 
all the ladies at Court, the Duchess of Albuquerque 
was the one that Marie Louise disliked most. She 
might struggle as she liked, however, she soon found 
that without Mariana's goodwill no one could gain a 
footing in the palace, and she was almost tempted to 
beg the Duchess of Terranova to stay by her side, 
especially as the King himself was opposed to the 
Duchess of Albuquerque. I trended, of course, in 
Mariana having her way. She bullied her son into 
making the appointment, and into dismissing the 
people who, she said, had ruled him for a year,jthe 
Duchess of Terranova and his friend Eguia. Un- 
bending to the last, the old Duchess, when she took 
leave of the Queen, noticed that the latter was crying 
now that the parting had come, and she told her that 
it was not proper for a Queen of Spain to weep for so 
small a matter. Marie Louise, half regretting the 
change now that it was too late, asked the Duchess 
of Terranova to come and see her sometimes. * I will 
never set foot in the palace again, as long as I live,' 
replied the proud lady, violently banging the table and 
tearing her fan to bits ; and she went forth in high 
dudgeon, refusing all the honours and rewards offered 
to her. 


With her departure the outlook for Marie Louise 
changecTlike a charm. The new Mistress of the Robes 
had always been considered as austere as her prede- 
cessor, for which reason the young Queen had feared 
her. But she came to her new office all sweetness.^ 
The Queen was allowed to sit up until half-past ten at 
night, an unheard of thing before ; she might mount 
her saddle horses and ride whenever she pleased, as no 
previous Queen Consort had ever done, and the King, 
on the persuasion of his mother and the new Duchess 
of the Robes, positively urged his wife to divert her: 
self in pas times "that hadjDreviously been rigorously 
forSjddenT* The change in the King was extra- 
ordinary, and proves the complete domination of his 
mother overTiis weak spirit when she pileased to exert 
herjpowen Mme Villars happened tcT visit the Queen 
two days after the Duchess of Albuquerque assumed 
office ; and as she entered the Queen's apartment 
Marie Louise ran smiling up to her in joy, crying : 
' You will say yes to what I am going to ask you, will 
you not ? ' The demand turned out to be that, by the 
King's special wish, Mme. Villars's daughter should 
enter the Queen's household as a maid of honour ; and 
Marie Louise, at the idea of having a French girl of 
her own age always near her, was transported with 
delight. The appointment was sanctioned and gazetted, 
but never took effect, for Villars could not afford to 
endow his daughter sufficiently well, and relations 

1 * Mdmoires de la Cour d'Espagne.' Villars. Even so, she was not 
allowed to mount her horses from the ground, but had to be driven in her 
coach to the place and mount the horse from the step of the carriage. 
One of her horses being very high spirited resented on one occasion this 
strange performance, and the Queen was thrown to the ground, much to 
her husband's alarm. No one, it appears, dared to touch the Queen, 
even to raise her from the ground, until Charles had sufficiently recovered 
from the shock to do so himself. (Mme. D'Aulnoy.) 


soon grew bitter again ; but that Charles, who hated 
the French, and especially Mme. Villars, should ever 
have consented to it proves how complete the sudden 
change of scene was. 

Encouraged by her new liberty, Marie Louise began 
to take a keener interest in public affairs, always play- 
ing, as can now be clearly seen, the game of those 
who were bent upon her ruin. Medina Celi had been 
cleverly diverted by Mariana, who had been ostensibly 
friendly with him, whilst the councils and secretariats 
had been gradually packed with her friends ; and 
Marie Louise, prompted by her, took the opportunity 
of the opposition offered by the minister to the stay of 
the Court at Aranjuez, to set her husband against 
Medina Celi, after which, both she and her mother-in- 
law, into whose hands she played, both worked 
incessantly to undermine the minister who was already 
unpopular, owing to the terrible distress in the country 
and his own ineptitude. The minister and his hench- 
man Eguia, and the King's confessor, retaliated 
effectively by sowing jealous^ distrust between Mariana 
arid her daughter-in-law, and between the King and 
his iwile ancL mother; and thenceforward complete, 
disunion existed between them all. Mariana, in dis- 
gust at her son's weakness, and knowing that events' 
were tending her way, stood aloof for a time ; 
Marie Louise went her own gait, making no 
friends and possessing no party ; and the inept 
Charles, alternately petulant and sulky, distrusted 

Villars writes of Marie Louise at this juncture : 
' She, with her youth and beauty, full of life and 
vivacity, was not of an age or character disposed to 
enter into the views and application necessary for her 


proper conduct. Her bent for liberty and pleasure, 
the memories of France and all she had left behind 
her there, had made Spain intolerable to her. The 
captivity of the palace, the ennui of idleness without 
amusement, the coarse low manners of the King, the 
unpleasantness of his person, his sulky humour, which 
she increased frequently by her lack of amiability 
towards him, all nourished her aversion and un- 
happiness. She took interest in nothing, and would 
take no measure, either for the present or the future^ 
ancTso, putting aside all that Spain could give her, she 
only consoled herself with the idea of returning _to 
France. She entertained this idea, encouraged by 
predictions and chimeras which formed her only 
amusement, for everything else bored her.' 1 

In her despairing knowledge that she could never 
hope for happiness in Spain, Marie Louise thus grew 
reckless. She had no ambition to rule except in the 
heart of the man she loved ; she was not clever enough 
tqjsucceed in the subtle political intrigues that went_pn 
around her; she knew now that motherhood was 
hardly to be hoped for with such a husband as hers, 
and her one thought was of the joy of living in France. 
As^ the political relations between France and Spain 
grew constantly more strained and Charles's detestation 
of Frenchmen increased, the visits of Mme. Villars^to 
Mane Louise perforce grew rarer, for the suspicious 
King had got into his head that the French am- 
bassadress was serving as an intermediary in the 
palace intrigues which were setting everybody by the 
ears. Marie Louise made matters worse by turning 
to her widowed nurse Mme. Quantin, and her inferior 
French maid. Quantin was a greedy, meddlesome 

1 ' Memoires.' Villars. 


woman, of low rank, who put up her influence over the 
Queen for sale, and soon embroiled matters beyond 

The Queen, under the influence of this woman, lost 
whaF little discretion and prudence she possessed. 
The many poor French people in the town, to whom 
Quantin and the other French maids were known, 
would congregate beneath their apartments in the 
palace to gossip of France, tell the news, and perhaps 
to beg for favours ; and Marie Louise would some- 
times be imprudent enough to approach the windows 
and exchange words with her countrymen below. 
Spaniards who saw it for jealous eyes watched the 
Queen always cried shame upon such a derogation 
from the dignity of Spanish royalty, and the 
m^tigers of the capital already began to whisphat 
the ' Frenchwoia^Mwho would not play 
properly, and g^^^^o signs of motherhood, might be 
put aside in favour of another Queen. *Jn the Calle 
Mayor, a punning verse passed from hand to hand 
reproaching her for her sterility, and demanding in 
ribald rhyme that she should either give an heir to 
Spain, or return whence she came ; and thus, as war 
loomed ever nearer between her two countries, the lot 
of the unhappy Queen grew darker. 

Villars began to see that he had been misled in 
corigemning the hard rule of the JDuchess of 
Terranova, and aiding the Queen to gain the freedom 
advocated for her by the amiable Mariana. ' It was 
a^^reat misfortune for the Queen,' he wrote, 'who 
now abandoned herself without restraint to a danger- 
ous line of conduct, and it is quite a question, judging 
by results, whether the hard severity of the Duchess 
of Terranova was not better for her than the weak com- 


plaisance of the Duchess of Albuquerque.' l The poor 
misguided girl had not a single friend, Mariana kejDt 
away ; for things were going admirably from her point of 
view; and a new alliance between Spain and the empire 
and otFer powers, against the^threatened encroach- 
ments of France, was already being discussed in secret. 
Trie Minister, Medfna Cell, "Had succeeded, by 
means of Eguia and the King's confessor, in re- 
establishing his position by arousing the jealousy of all 
the three members of the royal family against each 
other ; and he sought further to isolate and discredit 
Marie Louise by whispering to the King that her 
friend Mme. Villars was engaged in political intrigue 
with the Queen to the detriment of Spain. Mme. 
Vil^s had been specially authorised to visit the Queen 
as ^Bh as possible, and report fully all she heard*|br 
th^Bformation of the French A^Lnment ; but it is 
certain that she had no politic^^JIsion. Charles, 
however, wa childishly jealous of her because his wife 
liked her, and he instructed the Marquis de la Fuente, 
his ambassador in France, to demand the recall of 
Villars in consequence of his wife's indiscretion. 
Louis xiv. knew his kinsman well, and the real reason 
for his demand : but it was part of his policy just then 
to reassure the Spanish King, and Villars was 
sacrificed. In the ambassador's letter of recall, Louis 
writes, after saying that Charles had complained of the 
intrigues of Mme. Villars : ' It is useless to inform 
you of all the details ... it will suffice to say that, 
for many reasons affecting my service, I have not 
thought fit to refuse the King of Spain this mark of 
my complaisance, however satisfied I may be of the 
services you have rendered in the post you occupy.' 

1 ' M^moires de la Cour d'Espagne.' Villars. 


Both Villars and his wife disdained to justify them- 
selves by a single word, and the ambassadress left 
Madrid in the summer of 1 68 1, to the despair of Marie 
Louise ; whilst Villars himself was replaced by another 
ambassador early in 1682. By^this time the enrpire 
was at war withJF ranee. Louis had captured Stras- 
bourg, and Casale in Savoy on the same day (3Oth 
September 1681), and Germany seemed almost at the 
mercy of the now dominant power in Europe. ^The 
imperial ambassador at Madrid, supported strongly 
by Mariana, was striving his utmost to draw Spain 
into the great war that seemed inevitable, and Holland 
and England, jealous of the aggression of France, 
were for a time apparently willing to join Spain. But 
the clever diplomacy of Louis diverted the powers 
from the alliance, except the empire and bankrupt 
Spain ; and the sorely reduced Flemish dominion; of 
Spain was again invaded by French troops. Luxem- 
bourg, which belonged to Spain, was besieged, the 
cities of Dixmunde and Courtrai were captured 
(November 1683), and with every fresh victory of the 
French, Louis became more exacting. Finally, when 
the unfortunate country could resist no longer, the 
government of Charles was forced to accept the 
humiliating terms of the Treaty of Ratisbon in June 
1684, by which Luxembourg, the well-nigh impreg- 
nable fortress, was lost to Spain for ever, whilst Louis 
also kept Strasbourg, Bovines, Chimay, and Beaumont. 
Other smaller potentates, like the Elector of Braden- 
burg and the Regent of Portugal, following the 
example of the great Louis, hectored Spain into 
degrading concessions, whilst pestilence swept through 
the south, floods ruined Spanish Flanders, hurricanes 
Sctnk the silver fleets, upon ^dllch the government 


of Charles largely depended, corruption lorded over 
all in stark desolate_J5gain_L and the cretin King, 
growing more feeble in mind and body, mumbled his 
prayers, or played childish games with his wife or 
his dwarfs. 

During the war, which further despoiled the land 
of her adoption, the lot of Marie 

pitia"5Te7 Even before it broke out, and during the 
periooT of acrimonious recriminatory claims which 
followed the recall of Villars, her isolation and im- 
potence and the growing power of Mariana were 
plainly evident. In the instructions" given by Louts 
xiv. to his new ambassador, Vanguyon, 1 in 1682, the 
latter is instructed to visit the Queen-Mother first, 
with all sorts of amiable messages, and Marie Louise 
is only to be addressed 'in general terms,' and asked 
to do her best to maintain good relations between jh< 
two countries. Mariana, indeed, with the imperial] 
ambassador, Mansfeldt, constantly at her side, had b} 
the mere force of circumstances and her own charactei 
gradually again become the principal controlling power^ 
of the State, and, as usual, she directed her influence 
not to the benefit of Spain but to the aid of the'' 
empire in its secular struggle against the encroach^]' - 
ments of France. When the war, as already mentioned, 
broke out (1683) with France, the underhand intrigues 
oTMariana and the Austrian faction to discredit Marie 
Louise and destroy any political influence she might 
have over her husband, were powerfully aided by^e 
general feeling against everything French : and the 
young Queen, without a single friend near her, was 
more sorely beset than ever by her relentless enemies, 
whilst she, perplexed with intrigues that she did not 

1 'Recueil des Instructions aux ambassadeurs de France.' Paris, 1894. 


understand, surrounded by people who would willingly 
have followed her if she had had wit enough to lead 
them, threw away her chance by the frivolity and 
imprudence of her behaviour. 1 

She managed, it is true, by her charm and beauty 
to keep her husband deeply in love with her in his 
maudlin fashion, but, weak as he was, she failed to 
influence him politically. 2 She had already offended 

1 In January 1685 the Duke of Montalto in Madrid wrote to Pedro 
Ronquillo, the ambassador in London. ' The King attends to nothing 
but his hunting pastimes, and the Queen in tiring horses, as if she were 
a skilled horse-breaker. That is a pretty way to become pregnant ! In 
short, my dear sir, it is quite clear that God determines to punish us on 
every side.' Writing again, a month later (28th February), the same 
correspondent, after villifying the Medina Celi government, says : 
' Neither the things in the palace or anywhere else here improve. It 
looks, on the contrary, as if the devil himself had taken them in hand. 
Medina Celi is very placid over it, and cares only for himself; the King 
has been wolf-hunting for a week thirty miles off, and there would be no 
harm in that if he would only despatch business. As for the Queen, 
Medina Celi positively encourages her in her pranks so as to be able to 
hold on to office by her. He does not care so long as others have to 
pay.' Both the correspondents, it is needless to say, belonged to 
Mariana's party. ' Doc. Ined.,' Ixxix. 

2 There was a document found in Marie Louise's cabinet after her 
death, which purported to be a political guide, written to her at this 
period by Louis xiv. In this cynical document the Queen is advised 
how to gain advantage from the King's weakness and ineptitude, and how 
to obtain control of him. She is to maintain an attitude between com- 
plaint and friendship with the Queen-Mother, but to be very wary with 
regard to her : she is advised to maintain Oropesa in the ministry, but 
not to trust him, or to allow him more power than he had. She is to 
continue to introduce French fashions, manners, etc., in the palace ; and 
advice is given her as to how she should treat all the principal nobles. 
The manuscript concludes : ' Withdraw this paper into your most secret 
keeping. Live for yourself and for your beloved France. In Spain they 
do not love you, as you know, and they do not fear you either, for faint 
hearts easily conceive suspicions, and strength is not needed to commit 
a cruelty.' The original document is in the Bibliote'ca Nacional, Madrid 
(H. n), and there is a Spanish translation of it in MSS. Add. 15,193, 
British Museum. The document has usually been assumed to be 
authentic, but I am rather inclined to regard it as one of the many means 
employed to blacken the French cause after Marie Louise's death. 


Medina Celi and played the game of the Queen- 
Mother against him for he had been a friend of Don 
Juan by interfering with his appointments for the 
benefit of her nurse, the widow Quantin ; and now, 
at the very period when Mariana had determined 
that the prime minister, who had failed to pay her 
fuH~ pension, and' who alone stood between her and 
supreme power, should be dismissed, Marie Louise 
again foolishly threw her influence with her husband 
against the oft-threatened minister. Medina Celi, 
overwhelmed by his unpopularity and the insuperable 
difficulties of his task, was brusquely dismissed by the 
King in June 1685 ; and thenceforward Mariana was 
supreme. The new minister, the Count of Oropesa, 
was clever and active, and at first made sweeping 
financial reforms : but he was really the tool of the~ 
Austrian faction, which, before many months had 
passed, negotiated the League of Augsburg, which 
bound together Spain, the empire, Sweden, Bavaria 
and other powers, against the encroachments of Louis 
xiv. ; and again poor, ruined Spain was pledged to 
enter, if called upon, into the central European war. 

For the moment Louis was not prepared to meet 
all Europe in arms, and his views with regard to Spain 
had become somewhat changed. It was by this time 
evident that Marie Louise would bear no child to her 
degenerate husband, and Mariana and Mansfeldt were 
already preparing to "put forward the claims to the 
succession of the children of the Empress^ (the Infanta 
Margaret, daughter of Mariana), whilst Louis xiv., 
making light, as he always did, of the renunciation 
signed by Maria Theresa on her marriage (already 
referred to), was determined to show that his own son, 
the__Daiiphin, had the best right to be King of Spain if 


Charles n. died without issue. When, therefore, the 
new French ambassador, Feuquiere, went to Spain 
early in 1685, he was instructed to talk seriously, and 
in secret, to Marie Louise on the subject. 1 He was 
to tell her that she would be wise to desist from all 
political intrigue ~dlrected to the change of personnel 
of the government, and so to gain the goodwill of the 
ministers and obtain a firmer hold over the King. 
This advice came too late, for she had foolishly con- 
nived at Medina Celi's fall before Feuquieres could 
deliver his message. This, however, was only the 
first step ; and in the following year Father Verjus 
was sent to Madrid with money and instructions to 
aid Feuquiere in gaining friends and forming a party 
under the aegis ot 'Marie JLouise~to push the__claims 
of trie DaupFin to the Spanish succession. 

In the meantimeThe Austrian party^nder Mariana, 
werejiavmgjtheir ownjway unchecked. Marie Louise 
was their sole stumblingjalock, for the King would 
never willingly lose sight of her, notwithstanding her 
follies, of which her enemies made the most ; and at 
the instance of Mariana and her Austrian backers a 
dastardly series of plots was formed for ruining the 
young Queen in the eyes of her husband. We get 
the first hint of them from a letter dated I2th April 
1685 in the curious informal correspondence addressed 
by the Duke of Montalto in Madrid to the Spanish 
ambassador in London, Pedro Ronquillo, both of them 
partisans of Mariana : * A case of no little scandalous- 
ness has happened in the palace,' he wrote. 'You 

1 To the French ambassador who was in Spain in 1688, the Count 
de Rebenac, she gave the most intimate detailed reasons for her lack 
of issue connected with the constitution of the King. Rebenac repeated 
these confidences in his letters to Louis. 


know, of course, that Mme. Quantin is the favourite of 
our Queen, and that M. Viremont, a Frenchman who 
takes care of the Queen's saddle horses, is also well 
liked by her Majesty. By these means this man 
introduced himself so much into the palace with the 
Quantin woman, that, although she wears the dress of 
a duenna, and is neither young nor at all handsome, 
there was a talk of their getting married. Everybody 
laughed at such a courtship ; but the matter went so 
far and the connection was so close, for both of them 
are cunning enough to get out when they liked, and 
perhaps he may have found means to enter her 
chamber in the palace, that the woman was recently 
taken out of the palace to the house of Donna Ana de 
Aguirre, who is in high favour with the Queen, and it 
is said that this Quantin woman gave birth to a boy 
there the other day. 1 This scandal has caused no end 
of murmuring and satires, so shameless some of them 
as to be incredible. What is quite as incredible is the 
irresolution of the King. Up to the present time 
nothing has been done, either to the man or the 
woman, and Viremont continues in his employment as 
if nothing had happened. They are married now ; 
but if I had my way they should be burned. Yester- 
day the Quantin woman went to pay her respects to 
the Queen with as much effrontery as if she had not 
behaved thus. You can see by this the state the 
palace is in.' 2 

We can supplement this narrative from other sources. 
The French widow was the only person of her own 
tongue and country near TVIane Louise, and, though 

1 Mme. Quantin was a widow. It has been explained that all the ladies 
in the palace had to be maids or widows. 

2 Doc. Ined.,' Ixxix. 


^Zr f rr iTrr- 


she had been a dangerous companion, the poor Queen 
clung desperately to her. As soon as the rumour of 
her marriage spread the outcry for her punishment 
and expulsion was raised by the enemies of Marie 
Louise, and the Queen herself was attacked in dozens 
of spiteful couplets as having connived at immorality 
in her own apartments. The outraged Queen threw 
herself at her husband's feet in an agony of tears, and 
implored him not to expel the only French woman- 
servant upon whom she could depend. Charles, 
moved by his wife's tears, allowed Quantin to remain 
inMadrT37 thoughTnot to sleep in the palace, and 
refused fo believe the stories told him that Marie 
Louise had knowingly been a party to the irregularity 
of her servant. 

This was to some extent a defeat for the Queen- 
Mother and her friends ; but the scandal laid a founda- 
tion of distrust, upon which further attack might be 
based. This is how the Duke of Montalto speaks of 
the King's concession to his wife. ' I don't know 
whether the Quantin affair is true or not ; but it is 
publicly stated, and is the most dreadful scandal that 
ever happened in the palace. Medina, Oropesa and 
the Confessor, all urged the King to take some step, 
but to no purpose, for he preferred to give way to the 
tears and prayers of the Queen, rather than uphold the 
decency of his own household. So she has triumphed 
to such an extent that this woman, having married the 
rogue Viremont, has positively been brought by the 
Queen into the palace again to serve her, and goes 
home to her husband every night ! Cases of this sort 
are surely enough to drive one crazy, and to banish all 
hope of better times. Since I have told you the story 
I must now tell you the sequel. As soon as they were 


married the woman went ostentatiously to the palace 
to salute the King, which he placidly allowed. The 
fine pair have now gone to Aranjuez with the Court, 
like people of quality, in one of the royal coaches. 
Medina Celi has thrown up everything and gone away 
in disgust. It is all the King's fault, and such goings 
on as these will expose to the world our master's 
tyranny and incapacity.' I 

The further blow at the Queen was silently planned 
whilst the Court was at the spring palace of Aranjuez, 
where it usually stayed until Corpus Christi day. On 
the 1 2th May Charles fell suddenly ill, and much was 
made of the matter. Although, after bleeding, he was 
quite well on the third day, it was decided that he 
must immediately return to the capital. * What must 
be well borne in mind in all this ' (wrote an enemy of 
Marie Louise) ' is that the Queen wanted to prefer her 
own pleasure to the health of her husband ; for it was 
almost impossible to persuade her to come to Madrid. 
She said that the illness was nothing, and wished to 
keep the King there till Corpus Christi, notwithstand- 
ing the heat and danger. When she was not allowed 
to have her own way, she was cross and ill-humoured ; 
as was clear when the King was confined to his bed, 
for she did not even go to see him. This is the more 
strange, as when the Quantin woman was to be bled 
she must needs go and visit her without ceremony. 
Neither I nor any one else can understand the strange 
things that are going on in that house.' 2 

This was written at the end of May ; and some three 

A Frenchman 

named Vilaine, who is called by some authorities a 
discharged groom of Marie Louise, and by the Duke 

11 Doc. Ined., 3 Ixxix. 2 Ibid. 


of Montalto the waxchandler of the Queen- Mother, 
denounced Quantin and her husband for having plotted, 
with the knowledge of the Queen, to poison King 
Charles. The accused persons were at once arrested, 
and a carefully prepared hue and cry was raised against 
all Frenchmen. Many foreigners were attacked and 
some killed in the streets ; the French embassy had to 
be surrounded by troops, and the whole Court was in 
a panic. Charles was a coward and miserably^wgak,, 
but he stood by his wifeas welLasJhe knew how at 
this~period ot trial. ^arieJLouise, indignant and out- 
raged at what she feriewwasa vile plotagainst her, 
demanded that the accusers should also be arrested ; 
but before this could be done, Quantin and her husband, 
the French maids and others, were put to the torture ; 
and the poor woman, with both arms broken and her 
lower limbs crippled for life, still maintained her inno- 
cence and would confess nothing. 

The Queen's few Spanish friends were put into close 
confinement. No evidence whatever could be wrung 
from any of the accused to support the charge against 
them : but the Council of Castile, packed now with 
the Queen-Mother's partisans, still continued to regard 
the matter as a serious menace to the King's life, and 
frightened poor Charles nearly out of what small wits 
nature had given him. In a French news letter of the 
time (iQth August 1685) the political aim of the pro- 
ceedings is exposed. * The Council of Spain desires 
to involve the Queen in the accusations, because they 
fear her influence over the King, and he has not 
sufficient strength to resist the ministers who propose 
to appoint commissaries for the Queen. She has 
written to her father, saying that she has no French 
person now near her, nor any one else whom she could 


trust. ShjMSjshe^says, in daily fear of being poisoned. 

and she refuses to eat what they provide for her, which 
has cast her into great weakness. She will only eat 
with the King and from his dishes. Vilaine, they say, 
is to be rewarded and sent to an employment in the 
Canaries. The French ambassador is not allowed to 
speak with the Queen ; and the Venetian ambassador 
was nearly murdered, because they thought he was 
French. When the King is with the Queen the 
ministers are all in the wrong, but when they are with 
him he changes his mind.' I 

Quantin and all the French people about the palace 
were expelled the country, when no atom of proof could 
be found against them, and Charles, apparently alarmed 
at the threats of Louis xiv., that if any harm came to 
Marie Louise he would avenge heiHEiy war in Spain 
itself, was emphatic in his repudiation of any suspicion 
orThis part against his wife Reassured Feuquieres 
that he regarded his wife's interests as his own, and 
never believed for a moment in her guilt : and he 
assured the Duke of Orleans that, not only did he not 
know that the accused French people had been tor- 
tured, but that when he asked for a copy of the whole 
of the proceedings in the case, his Council had assured 
him that the records had all been burnt. In vain, 
however, did the French government insist upon the 
punishment of the accusers. The King might promise 
and strive, but there were others stronger than he ; 
and Vilaine was spirited away and rewarded. 

Another news letter in the same French collection 
as that justed quoted does not hesitate, a few months 
afterwards, when the whole matter was known, to say : 

1 MSS. of Father Leonard in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Quoted 
by Morel Fatio in * Mdmoires de la Cour d'Espagne.' 


4 Although the Quantin affair is now a thing of the 
past, it is nevertheless worth recording that the Count 
of Mansfeldt, the imperial ambassador and his wife, to 
please the Queen-Mother, originated the accusation 
against the woman. She was made to suffer the 
cruel tortures she did in order to injure the young 
Queen, who was so outraged at it, and the King 
as well, that the imperial ambassador is forbidden the 
palace, except on the business of his embassy.' 

Mariana's friends looked upon it in a very different 
light. Whilst still the accusation was hanging over 
Marie Louise, Montalto wrote to Ronquillo in London : 
' Quantin and her husband, and all the Frenchmen in 
the Queen's stable, with her bob-tailed horses, have all 
been packed off to France. They were a lot of rascals, 
and the cost of her stable was a calamity. They were 
all guilty, but as none of them would confess under 
torture, they could not be further proceeded against. 
People are talking very scandalously about such 
shameful laxity. Quantin's young niece l was sent out 
of the palace late at night, so that not a single French 
person should remain. But the Queen's tears and 
prayers soon fetched her back. This is perfectly 
odious and disgraceful, and one can only have con- 
tempt of so easy going a King, who will not let even 
justice take its course if his wife says nay.' A few 
weeks afterwards, the same courtier says : ' The Queen 
is still implacable at the loss of her Quantins, and the 
King so excessively loving (not to call it by another 
name) of his wife, that all his concessions to her, which 
ought to make her more submissive to him, makes her 

1 This was Susanne Duperroy, to whom Marie Louise left 3,000 
doubloons in her will. Mme. Quantin herself received a legacy of 4,000 
from the Queen. 


humour worse, and the temper that God gave her 
causes no end of trouble as it is ; for it is the most 
extravagant ever seen.' 1 

The French servants of the Queen, her only solace, 
all except the girl Duperroy, had been sent away ; but 
still Marie Louise personally had held her place in the 
King's affection. No sooner, however, had the 
Ouantin affair fallen a" little into the background, than_ 
another stab more wicked still was aimed at the Queen 
by the same hands out of the darkness. There was a 
foolish, vain, French exon of the guard, the Chevalier 
Saint Chamans, who had commanded Marie Louise's 
escort when she travelled to the Spanish frontier. As 
was not unusual in the French Court at the time, Saint 
Chamans was pleased to profess a far-off amorous wor- 
ship of the lovely Princess ; and it is quite probable 
that during his attendance upon her, she may have 
smiled in raillery at his silly languishing airs. In 
any case, the talk of his adoration reached Madrid ; 
and in the autumn of 1685, some miscreant in the 
capital of Spain wrote two letters as from the Queen 
in a forged hand imitating hers, to Saint Chamans, 
containing expressions to the highest degree com- 
promising of her honour. Saint Chamans, like the 
love-lorn fool that he was, showed the letters to his 
churns^ and -Louis xiv. soon learnt of their existence, 
and what is more extraordinary, believed them to be 
genuine. In sorrow and severe reprobation, he wrote 
to Feuquieres, directing him to show the letters to the 
Queen, which he did in September. 

Marie Louise, outraged at the mere suspicion, and 
indignant at so cruel a hoax, rose for once majestic 
and dignified in her wratjL She scribbled a Burning 

1 ' Doc. Ined.,' Ixxix 


repudiation of the letters which she handed to 
Feuquieres for ciphered transmission to the King of 
France. 1 ' It will not be difficult for your Majesty to 
imagine the affliction in which I am, at knowing that 
you suspect a person such as I of so unworthy a thing 
as this. I cannot avoid expressing my justified sorrow 
at seeing that your Majesty does not esteem at its true 
worth, as you should, conduct which is most regular, 
and which certainly is not of the easiest. . . . but as I 
am so unhappy as to have people near me here 
perfidious and abominable enough to use every effort 
to ruin me by pernicious inventions, I am not surprised 
that they should exert all their ingenuity to deprive 
me of the esteem of your Majesty. . . . Believe me, 
nothing is more false than that which you have thought 
of me, and my despair to see that your Majesty doubts 
for a moment my good behaviour, makes me, in this, 
stand apart from your counsel, and be myself alone ; 
and I cannot think of the injustice your Majesty has 
done me without being beside myself with sorrow. 
Alas ! I had made light of all my grief, believing 
that your Majesty, at least, thought well of me : but 
I see now I am marked for unhappiness, since your 
Majesty believes a thing of me which makes me 
shudder even to think of. ... I am so jealous of my 
honour, and I love it so much, that I shall never do 
anything to stain it : and life itself is not so insupport- 
able to me, either, that I should seek thus to lose it. 
. . . If I were in a more tranquil state, I should 
supplicate your Majesty to have pity upon this poor 
realm for my sake ; but I dare not, though I think 
you will be good enough to recollect that I have the 

1 The letter is in the Archives of the Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, 
Paris, vol. 71. It has been transcribed by M. Morel Fatio. 


honour to be your niece, and that all my happiness 
depends upon you. . . . Believe me, too, when I 
say that I am prouder of being born a princess of your 
blood, than of the rank I hold in the world ' : and 
so on, for several pages, the wronged and outraged 
Queen eloquently protests her innocence. 

Thenceforward Marie Louisjythough entirely with- 
out political influence for theAustrian faction ancLtEe 
Queen- Mother were in that respect all-powerful was 
unassailable in the affections of the poor man she had 
married. Her disregard of the ordinary Spanish 
etiquette, the free and easy bonhomie of her de- 
meanour, and the indulgence of her caprices increased 
as she felt more secure in the love of her husband ; 
BuTsKe made norther use of her influence over him. 
No^Better series of pictures of the life in her palace 
can be found than in the vitriolic references to Marie 
Louise and her husband in letters already quoted of 
the Duke of Montalto. On the 3<Dth August 1685, 
he writes that for months the Queen had not gone 
out in public, in which, he says, she was wise, 
particularly when the anti- French riots were taking 
place, as the mob might have attacked her. * They 
say again that she is pregnant, but there is not much 
belief in it, as the same thing has happened several 
times before. She had got up a very grand comedy 
for St. Louis' day ; but it had to be deferred, because 
of this pregnancy rumour, and not even the usual 
comedies in the palace were given for the same 

On the 24th October of the same year, he records 
the removal of the Court to the Retiro : ' which place 
the Queen is very fond of, because there she can 
enjoy her country sports, and especially ride about on 


horseback every afternoon. In order to have her 
horses nearer to her, she has had a place made for 
them near the large pond, where she goes every 
morning to visit them.' A little later he remarks 
that everything in the palace is going to the dogs. 
' There is neither firmness nor stability enough to 
correct these follies of the Queen.' In April 1686, 
the same writer says : ' Things are in the greatest 
embarrassment for the government, owing to the 
fancies and caprices of the Queen ; for nothing is 
done by any other rule than her whim.' It appears 
that the presence of the Queen's Spanish friend 
Senora Aguirre, who had been exiled at the time 
of the Quantin affair, was much desired by Marie 
Louise, and the latter demanded her return of the 
prime minister, Oropesa. He temporised for a time, 
but when she ordered him peremptorily to advise the 
King to recall the lady, he refused. 'Well,' said the 
Queen, 'do not oppose it if the King suggests it.' 
' Yes I will,' replied the minister : whereupon Marie 
Louise went with tears and blandishments to her 
husband, and begged for the favour. For a time he 
held out ; but at last gave way to the extent of 
ordering a decree of recall to be drafted and dis- 
cussed. Oropesa protested, and Charles cancelled 
the decree. Another passionate outburst from the 
Queen followed, and in the end she had her way. 
' The coming of this woman (Aguirre) will be worse 
than all the devils together; worse than Quantin. 
Judge what a state we are in with this irresolution of 
our master. The advice of ministers and decisions 
of tribunals, all are powerless before the will of this 
woman (the Queen).' 

The caprices of Marie Louise soon reached the 


ears of her uncle Louis, and he did, in May 1686, 
what he ought to have done years before, namely, to 
seri3 a French lady of great position and experience, 
dependent upon him, to advise the Queen and keep 
herein the right way. The lady was a descendant of 
tKe royal house, the Countess of Soissons, and her 
mission was, if possible, to induce Marie Louise to 
turn her influence to politicaL account for the benefit 
of France. Her task was almost hopeless from the 
first, and she failed, though she tried hard for a time" 
and in the last few weeks of the Queen's life, when 
too Jate, was of some service to French. interests. 

'The Queen' (writes Montalto in May 1586) 'is in 
the full force of her madness, dominating the King 
completely by cries and threats. He has not an atom 
of resolution, and no application at all. The day upon 
which the great council was held, when he would not 
attend, he went on muleback to the wild beast cages 
at the Retiro, and there he had the animals caught 
and counted, thinking more of this frivolity than if it 
had been some heroic action. This government of 
ours is nothing more than a boy's school with the 
master away. No one respects anything, and each 
person does as he likes, whilst the Queen follows her 
whim or the last suggestion.' On another occasion, 
when the Marquis of Los Velez was giving a repre- 
sentation of a sacred auto on a holy day, Montalto 
records that * the Queen witnessed the show from a 
balcony in the passage, when she behaved herself so 
unrestrainedly as to shock people ; and the actions of 
this lady really give rise to the idea that she is not in 
her right mind.' 

The unfortunate woman kept apparently on friendly, 
but not cordial, terms with Mariana, who smilingly 


let her go her own way without remonstrance ; and 
there was now no check whatever upon her strange 
vagaries, for the King grew more feeble-minded than 
ever, and "Was as clay in her hands. _ * The Queen's 
levity approaches light-headedness,' wrote Montalto 
in the 'summer ot 1687. ' She was" lately ill with fever, 
owing to the rubbish she is always eating. Nobody 
can control her, and she looks consumptive. Those 
of us who are not much attached to her are not sorry 
to see her afflicted.' Uttejlyj-eMe5s.iiiJieji-4node-of 
life the unhappy woman, though still but twenty-five 
y^aT5^fage,^asalready losing her health and beauty. 
In"July Montalto reports that 'the Queen still con- 
tinues in her extravagant conduct, and no amendment 
can now be expected. She is dreadfully thin and 
languid, and will take no remedies but those prescribed 
by her own caprice and distrust. As for the King, I 
say nothing, for I have already said so much, though 
not half enough.' 

And so, through the summer, matters went from 
bad to worse. There was no guidance from the King, 
notability or prudence from the Queen, and Spain 
drifted helpless towards the whirlpool of civil war that 
was soon to engulf her. The only care of old Mariana 
was to watch over the interests of her own kin in their 
claims to the succession to the Spanish crown, and 
paralyse the promotion of the French pretensions". 
Writing from the palace on the 2 9th August 1687, 
JVtontalto says : * It is impossible to exaggerate the 
terrible state of things here. This palace is boiling 
over with disorder and scandalous stones to such an 
extent as to be simply a mass of confusion. The 
Queen is so extravagant in her conduct, and has so 
strange a character, that I dare not write, even in 


cypher, what is going on. The King knows, but 
remedies nothing. It seems as if God had endowed 
him neither with force nor application for anything ; 
and the same wretched laxity is seen in the govern- 
ment of the realm. He gives no more than a quarter 
of an hour to business in the day, and the whole of 
the rest of his time is spent in such trifles as running 
backwards and forwards through these saloons, and 
from balcony to balcony, like a child of six, and his 
conversation would match about the same age. The 
Queen is dreadfully ill and thin, and has quarrelled 
with the Queen-Mother.' 

Months later, in May 1688, when the war between 
France and the empire was recommencing, and Spain 
was once more arming tor a conflict not primarily Jier 
own, Montalto wrote, in more despondent spirit than 
ever, of the condition of affairs in Madrid. * Yesterday 
it was my turn for duty at the Retiro. I used to like 
it, but now I dread the day that takes me there. Of 
course I know even when I am not there what is 
going on with our master ; but it is very shocking to 
see it close, and, so to speak, face to face. The 
neglect everywhere is quite terrible. The King's 
great business whilst I was there was to see the 
matting taken up in the rooms, and to count the pins 
and other trifles of that sort. The Queen blurts out 
whatever comes uppermost, and indulges to the full 
in her craze for riding on horseback, prancing about 
indecorously over the neighbourhood. She has again 
had her ladies mounted, knowing that the King hates 
to see it. She has her way and, dead against his will, 
she insists upon acting the principal boy's part in a 
comedy they are rehearsing. As usual, she will do 
as she likes. There are constant tourneys and balls 


because she insists upon them, and there is no influence 
or reason that can keep her within bounds. The 
Queen-Mother pays great attention to her, but is 
cruelly slighted by her.' 

A week later, the same writer continues in a similar 
strain, saying that the Queen had insisted upon the 
comedy being written specially for her to take the 
boy's part : but she had fallen ill and the performance 
had been postponed. ' The King is totally opposed 
to this prank ; but of course she has her way. She 
has had a magnificent theatre constructed at the Retiro, 
with lavish ornaments, etc., for the ladies, in which 
she has wasted thousands of ducats, and yet there is 
not a real for urgent needs. The King is a cypher, 
and allows things to be done before him of which he 
entirely disapproves. I positively dread my turn of 
duty, for I see the King does nothing but run about 
like an imp, and if he goes into the garden it is only 
to pick strawberries and count them.' 

A week or so later Marie Louise had recovered her 
health, and the long-prepared comedy was played with 
great brilliancy. The King went to the full rehearsal 
"two days before the public performance ; and although 
shocked and annoyed by his wife's caprice in playing 
a male part, had not strength of will enough to forbid 
jtTTWhen, however, the piece was represented publicly, 
and all the principal ladies in Madrid, with the gentle- 
men of the household, were present to praise and 
applaud, poor, unstable Charles was so charmed with 
his wife, even on the stage, that he testified his delight 
at her performance, and the entertainment was repeated 
again and again during the summer. 

Once more at this time there was a belief that the 
Queen was pregnant, and the hopes of the French 


party ran high, though they were soon seen to be 
fallacious as before. Montalto, reporting the matter 
to Ronquillo, says that the Queen had explained, in 
answer to an inquiry of her father, the Duke of 
Orleans, that the reason for her lack of issue was not 
the impotence of the King but his excessive con- 
cupiscence, ' which,' says the writer, ' I do not 
understand, though the effect is plain.' 

In the autumn of 1688 Marie Louise fell ill of 
smallpox in the palace of Madrid ; and in her enfeebled 
state of health the disease was held to be dangerous. 
SHe was a bad patient, self-willed in her rejection of 
the remedies prescribed to her by the only physician 
she would receive, a Florentine doctor she had known 
in Paris in attendance upon the Balbeses. The King 
was to have started for the Escorial at the time his 
wife was attacked by the malady, and was obliged to 
delay his departure, though fear of contagion kept him 
away from the invalid. Montalto reports, with char- 
acteristic ill-nature : * The King seems sorry ; but he 
is more sorry at having to postpone his journey to the 
Escorial. For although his feeling towards his wife 
appears to be affection, I maintain that it is more fear 
of her than anything else.' Before she was fit to be 
moved the Queen insisted upon being carried in a 
Sedan chair to the Retire to pass her period of con- 
valescence there, first visiting the church of the 
Atocha, whilst Charles departed to spend a month at 
the Escorial. 

Left alone in her solitary convalescence, Marie 
Louise appears" tcf Have^ ^developed a more devout 
spirit than had previously characterised her, and at^ 
the same time lost her desire to live. During the 
period of low vitality which followed her illness one 


of her ladies begged her to summon a famous saintly 
man, to pray for her prompt restoration to strength. 
' No, no,' she replied, ' I will not do so. It would be 
folly indeed to ask for life which matters so little.' 
When, at this juncture, the representatives of the town 
of Madrid offered to build a new church as a votive 
offering for her restoration to health, she was no less 
emphatic. If the money of the suffering subjects was 
to be spent upon the building she would not allow it 
to be done. 

She had, indeed, little left to live for. Wedded to 
the fribble we have described, and with enemies ~oT 
herself and her dear France everywhere around her, 
she must have felt powerless to cope with the adverse 
influences opposed to her. All the love she had to 
give was given long ago, before she was called upon 
to make the great renunciation which had been made 
in vain. So long as youth and sensuous vitality had 
remained to her she had sought in reckless enjoyment_ 
to stifle the horror of the loveless life to which she was 
condemned : but when the capacity for bodily grati- 
fication was gone, Marie Louise lost her "desire to 

Spain was trembling upon the brink of a great war 
with Jr 1 ranee, anddufing the winter succeeding tEe~ 
Queen's illness_Count Hebenac was in Madrid with 
what amounted to an ultimatum to Spain to abandon 
the league of Augsburg, formed to crush the ambition 
o'TLouis. Kebenac often saw the Queen, and coached 
by him and by the Countess of Soissons, she en : 
deavoured, now that matters had gone too far, to 
employ her hold upon her husband in a political 
direction, and to frustrate the policy of the Queen- 
Mother in keeping Spain in offensive and defensive 


alliance with the Emperor. Her influence upon 
Cfiarles was^ great, and he began to_incline to the 
side of trie French against his mother. Marie Louise 
pomtecTout to him the awful condition of destitution 
in which his country lay, and painted in moving words 
the horrors of a war in which Spain had all to lose 
and could not hope to gain. Charles was gentle and 
tender-hearted, hating to see or hear of suffering, and 
Rebenac reported early in February 1689 that the 
efforts of the Queen had been effectual, and that he 
had great hopes of the success of his mission. 1 

Ifwas a great crisis/for a^withdrawal of Spain at 
1 this point from the alliance would have meant the 
predominance of France in Europe thenceforward, and 
the defelTt of the Austrian party^JnJSpain. Mariana 
and her friends were strong and determine^ ; the King 
was jveak and unstable. Only the life of a languid 
woman, tired of the struggle, stood between them and 
victory, and Marie Louise herself seems to have had 
a prophetic knowledge that such an obstacle would not 
be allowed to frustrate plans so deeply laid. As usual 
with Spanish sovereigns, the Queen went every week 
to worship at the shrine of the Virgin of Atocha, and 
on Tuesday the 9th February 1689, when she took 
leave of the prior of the convent church, she told him 
that she should meet him no more on earth. That 
night after her light repast of milk and honey the 
Queen was seized with convulsions, violent pains and 
vomiting ; a colic it was called, which brought her to 
the lowest extremity of weakness. From the first she 
knew that she was doomed and made no effort. In 

1< Recueil des Instructions aux Ambassadeurs Francois,' Paris, 1894, 
and ' Correspondance de Rebenac, Archives du Ministre des Affaires 

2 H 


the intervals of the burning agony she suffered, her 
confessor asked her if there was anything that troubled 
her. 'I am in peace, Father,' she replied, 'and am 
very glad to die.' She lingered in pain until the early 
hours of the i2th February ; jmdthen the most ^beau- 
tiful and ill-fated princess_jof the house of Bourbon 
breathed Her last, a martyr^ if ever one lived, upon_the 
attaFof herjxmntrY,; but a martyr sacrificed in 
for she was immolated, not by Eer own 

All that Marie Louise asked of life was love, and that 
was the one thing denied to her. The Spanish people, 
who had sometimes been cruel to her because she was 
a foreigner, were shocked by her untimely death : but 
before the pompous procession which bore the body 
of Marie Louise to its last resting-place in the inferior 
mausoleum in the Escorial reserved for sterile Queens, 
whispers ran through Spain and France that it was no 
colic that had cut short the life of Marie Louise, but 
poison administered in the interests of Mariana and 
the Austrian faction. No proof has ever been adduced 
that this was the case, for evidence in such a matter 
would naturally not be easily obtainable ; l but the 
death of the Queen, at the very crisis when, by her 

1 The tragic end of the Queen so distressed the French ambassador 
Rebenac that for a time he lost his reason after attending the funeral 
ceremony. In his subsequent correspondence with the King of France 
he made no secret of his belief that she had been murdered. The 
Duchess of Orleans, the Queen's stepmother, thus refers to Rebenac's 
statements in her correspondence : ' Rebenac's feelings have done no 
wrong to our young Queen of Spain. It is the sharp-nosed Count of 
Mansfeldt who poisoned her.' De Torcy, in his ' Memoires/ says : ' The 
Count of Mansfeldt and Count Oropesa are both suspected of having been 
the authors of Marie Louise's death, and take little care to exonerate 
themselves. The Marquis de Louville, in his ' Me"moires,' also distinctly 
states that the Queen was poisoned, and several other contemporary 
French authorities are no less certain. 


aid, the King had been turned to the side of France, 
seems in alflhe circumstances to have been too provi- 
dential to her enemies to have been entirely accidental. 
At any rate it waT effectual in changing the whole 
aspect" of affairs immediately; and before the mourn- 
ing for Marie Louise had lost its freshness, the French 
ambassador was on his way home unsuccessful, Spain 

_ * ----- ' ~^ 

was agairPat war with France, and negotiations .were. 
being 7 actively carried on to find a 

wretched cretin whojyore the crown of Spain. 




ALMOST simultaneously with the death of Marie Louise 
an event happened which to a large extent altered the 
political balance of Europe, and placed at further 
disadvantage the French partisans in Madrid. The 
Prince of (3 range had surprised the world by becoming 
King of England, practically without opposition. It 
waiTnoTonger a shifty Stuart with French sympathies 
and an itching palm for the bribes of Louis who 
directed the policy of Great Britain, but a prince 
whose very existence was bound up in the exclusion 
of^FrancV from Flanders ; a prince, moreover, under 
wTJonTTSngland and Holland were for the firstjjme 
really united. TRe coalition against Louis was in- 
finitely strengthened thereby, and Spain, with Mariana 
at the helm, was now less likely than ever to shirk 
the fulfilment of her obligations under the Treaty of 
Augsburg. Madrid thereafter became for a time a 
prime centre of international intrigues, aimed at the 
exclusion of French interest from the Peninsula. 
Charles had no personal desire to marry again. He 
was afraid of fresh people about him ; he was over- 
borne with the responsibilities of his great position, 
and, although he was only twenty-eight, his feeble 
powers of mind and body were already on the wane. 
Left to himself, he would have desired nothing but 
to throw up matrimony as a failure, so far as he was 
concerned, and live in peace, after his own fashion, 



until on his deathbed he left his realm to an heir of 
his own choosing. 

But the antagonistic factions that divided his Court 
between them decided that such a course was quite 
impossible. It could hardly have been with the hope, 
as they professed, that issue would be more likely from 
a second marriage than it had been from the first, for 
Charles had been really enamoured with Marie Louise, 
who had been his consort during the best period of 
such vigour as he ever possessed. It is more likely 
that the haste to get him married was prompted by 
the desire of the intriguers to have by his side, when 
he was called upon to settle the succession, a. wife 
favourableto the views of the donnant 


BadgerecT and pestered on all sides, the poor creature, 
always" anxious to do what he was told was his duty, 
consented to take another wife. 

The opponents of the German interest at first sug- 
gested a princess of Portugal, but Mariana and her 
friends took care that the negotiations should fall 
through ; and, at the Queen-Mother's instance, Charles 
consented to leave the choice of a fit bride for him to 
his uncle and brother-in-law, the Emperor Leopold. 
The latter, who had only one daughter by his first 
wife the Infanta Margarita, Mariana's daughter, had 
married as his second wife, by whom fie had sons, 
Eleanor of Neuburg-Bavaria, daughter of the Elector 
Palatine, Duke of Neuburg. This lady had a sister 
of twenty-two, Marie Anne of Neuburg ; and upon 
her the choice of the Emperor fell to^be the wifb_jof 
Charles ii.,King of Spain 

Three months after Marie Louise died the marriage- 
treaty was signed; and on the i8th August 1689, late 
at night in the quaint Bavarian town of Neuburg on 


the Danube, the tall, angular girl with hard eyes and 
mouth, was led by the Spanish ambassador through 
the bedizened throng of princes and princesses of 
Austria, Bavaria and Hesse, who crowded the church 
of the Jesuits, to be wedded to her nephew, the young 
King of Hungary, the Emperor's heir, as proxy for 
the King of Spain, the officiating priest being her 
brother, Prince Alexander. The marriage was re- 
garded by all Europe as a pledge that thenceforward 
Spain would be firmly united wiih the Germanic 
interests against Louis xlv., and trie challenge was 
promptly accepted by the French King. TTience- 
forward, for seven years, all Europe was at war ; and 
Spain, which only needed rest, was forced hot only to 
waste blood and treasure upon foreign fields, but to 
fight for the integrity of its own soil in Catalonia, 
North Africa and America. 

England, under the Dutch King, had taken an 
active part in promoting an alliance which drew Spain 
closer to the Teutonic league ; and only an English 
fleet was available to convey the new Queen of Spain 
in safety to her husband's realm. Through Cologne 
and Rotterdam, Marie Anne and her train of Germans 
slowly travelled to Flushing in the late autumn of 
1689, costly jewels meeting her as gifts, now from 
her husband, now from her gratified mother-in-law, 
who regarded her coming as a triumph for herself. 1 
At Flushing a powerful English fleet, under Admiral 
Russell, awaited the bride ; and after much delay, and 
not a few mishaps, the squadron sailed for Spain late 
in January 1690. The intention had been to land the 
Queen at the port of Santander ; and her Spanish 

1 The jewels taken by Count Benavente from Charles was valued at 
180,000 crowns, and Mariana's gift to her daughter-in-law 30,000. 


household was on the road thither to receive her, 
when news reached them that Corunna had been 
chosen as a better harbour, and to the extreme north- 
west corner of Spain they wended their way. Bad 
weather, as is not unusual in the Bay of Biscay in 
mid-winter, made the voyage of the Queen a dangerous 
and difficult one ; and on approaching Corunna it was 
found that the storm was too violent for the ships to 
enter. Colonel Stanhope, the English ambassador, 
who accompanied the Queen to Spain, says: 1 'We 
were forced into a small port called Ferrol, three 
leagues short of the Groyne (i.e., Corunna), and by 
the ignorance of a Spanish pilot our ships fell foul 
one with another, and the admiral's ship was aground 
for some hours, but got off clear without any damage.' 
To Ferrol came hurrying the Spanish household 
from Corunna, with the inevitable Mansfeldt, all not 
a little ruffled at this game of hide-and-seek with the 
German Queen in the most inclement season of the 
year ; and at length, on the 6th April, after nearly a 
fortnight's stay on board of Russell's ship in the 
harbour of Ferrol, Marie Anne and a great train of 
German, English and Spanish attendants landed in 
the barges of the English squadron, whose decorations 
and the smartness of the oarsmen aroused the surprised 
admiration of the Spaniards. 2 Though the officials 
did their best to give Marie Anne a stately welcome 
at Corunna, and the Count de Lemos entertained her 
and her Court at a splendid festival at his house at 
Puente de Ume, all was not harmonious. The general 
feeling in Spain was against the German connection, 
and especially against the ruinous war with France 

1 Stanhope Correspondence in Lord Mahon's ' Spain under Charles n.' 

2 ' Reinas Catolicas/ Father Florez. 


that it entailed, and Count Mansfeldt, the imperial 
ambassador, was especially detested. The people at 
large firmly believed that he had connived at the 
poisoning of Marie Louise, and his overbearing manners 
had offended the courtiers. 

'I find,' writes Stanhope, 'that the Queen's recep- 
tion has been much meaner than it would have been 
out of a pique the Spanish grandees have against 
Count Mansfeldt, who was preferred before them all 
to the honour of bringing her over, by the favour of 
the Queen-Mother and contrary to the advice of the 
Council of Castile.' 1 Nor did the demeanour of Marie 
Anne mend matters, for, even thus early, her stiff 
imperious manner and her hasty temper struck a chill 
in the hearts of the Spaniards, who place so high a 
value upon an amiable exterior. Dressed in the 
traditional Spanish garb, which suited her unbending 
mien, the Queen sat unmoved at the bullfights, tourneys, 
masquerades and other festivities offered in her honour 
by the storied cities through which she passed on her 
way to Valladolid. Nobles who knelt to greet her 
received but a cold recognition of their compliments, 
and the cheers of the populace awoke no smile of 
gratification upon the lips of Marie Anne of Neuburg. 

Charles was not an eager wooer this time, and 
awaited calmly the coming of his new wife to Valla- 
dolid. On Ascension Day, 4th May 1690, he first 
met his bride. There was little or no pretence of 
affection on either side ; but from the first Marie Anne 
took the lead and imposed her will upon her husband. 
The marriage feasts at Valladolid and the stereotyped 
gaieties that throughout Spain celebrated the marriage, 
pleased the thoughtless, but the more reflecting knew 

1 Stanhope Correspondence. 


that the war for which Spain was being again squeezed 
dry by every empirical resource that ingenuity and 
ignorance of finance could devise,, was a direct result 
of the series of alliances that the German marriage 
cemented, and many were the whispered curses uttered 
against the boorish Germans and Englishmen, who 
were not only disrespectful, but heretics to boot. With 
exactly the same ceremonial as had marked the entry 
of the beautiful Marie Louise into the capital ten 
years before, Marie Anne rode from the Buen Retire 
to the old Alcazar through the crowded streets, on 
the 22nd May 1690. Again, behind the half-closed 
jalousies, in the house of Count Onate in the Calle 
Mayor, over against the church of St. Philip, Charles 
n. and his mother, growing visibly old now, witnessed 
the passing of the new Queen. 

The triumph of Mariana at the coming of a German 
bride for her son was short lived. The time that 

arie Anne had spent at the Buen Retire previous to 
the State entry had been sufficient to show the mother- 
in-law that she had met her match, and that here there 
was no gentle, submissive! young creature ^ijno 
thoughtless beauty who would ruin herself if en- 
couraged to go her own w r ay, like poor Marie Louise 
but a hard, passionate - woman, who was determined, 
\ whatever happened to Spain, to make the best of her 
opportunities for her own advantage. Mariana, in 
accordance with her usual policy, endeavoured at first 
to co-operate harmoniously with her daughter-in-law, 
in order to gain predominance in the partnership after- 
wards. The sole minister, Oropesa, had done his best 
tCTjFelieve the suffering country, and his financial re- 
fonrishad effected some improvement ; but with the 
renewal of the war on land and sea, the economies 


were soon swallowed up, and the penury became as 
pTessthg as ever. The minister's subordinates were 
rapacious and corrupt to an extent unexampled even in 
Spain, and offices, dignities, titles, and pensions were 
openly put up to the highest bidder. Oropesa, though 
fairly honest himself, had an ambitious, greedy wife, 
who increased his unpopularity ; and when Marie 
Anne arrived in Madrid, the party inimical to the 
minister was alreadgjowerful. 

Mariana had been Oropesa's patron, but when the 
new Queen, for whose aims it was necessary to form a 
party in Spain, sided with the enemies of the minister, 
Mariana dared not take the unpopular and weaker side, 
and reluctantly agreed with her daughter-in-law that 
Oropesa and the corrupt crew that followed him should 
be deposed. Their principal abettors were the King's 
confessor, Father Matilla, the Archbishops of Toledo 
(Cardinal Portocarrero) and Saragossa, the Constable 
of Castile, and the Secretary of State, Lira, formerly a 
creature of Oropesa. Marie Anne and the confessor 
gave the poor King no rest. Charles was deeply 
attached to Oropesa; he dreade(T"Hew people abo"Of 
him ; and for a time he refused to dismiss his minis- 
ter^ Mane Anne surferectT when contradicted, frorn 
hysterical nervous crises, that were said to threaten 
her lite, and every one, from her husband downward, 
went in mortal fear of provoking an attack by saying 
anything displeasing to her. 1 The confessor Matilla 
finally threatened the King that he would not give 
him absolution, unless he did his duty to the country 
by dismissing Oropesa. 

Charles, beset on all sides, at first told everything to 
Oropesa himself, but that made matters worse ; and he 

1 ' Modesto Lafuente Historia de Espafia.' 


then repeated to each party exactly what the other 
said, with the result that the palace itself became a 
\ hot-bed"bf scandal, hatred, and all uncharitableTTess. 
At length Marie Anne had her way, and Charles sent 
for his minister with tears in his eyes and told him that 
his enemies had demanded his retirement. ' They~ 
wish it,' sobbed the unhappy man, 'and I must agree 
to it : ' and then, in the deepest sorrow, he dismissed 
the best minister he had ever had, in obedience to a 
palace intrigue led by his German wife. Before 
Oropesa went into banishment at the end of June 
1691, he sought an interview with the Queen, but was 
refused, and Mariana with difficulty was prevailed 
upon to receive her former instrument ; her ungracious 
farewell of him being to tell him that he ought to have 
gone long before. 1 

A sort_of commission of government was then 
fonpelT'entirely composed of men in~The interests of 
Marie Anne ; and thenceforward all method and 
regularity__in the administration disappeared. The 
King referred questions submitted to him to any 
person who happened to be near him, and the letters 
of Colonel Stanhope at the time testify to the im- 
possibility of getting any official business done at all. 
The country was in the midst of jwarj__the French 
were masters^ of the best part_pf Ha fa Ionia, anH as the 
English ambassador reports, the Spaniards had not 
4,000 men there in all, fit for service, and in four 
months' vigorous recruiting only 1,000 men could be 
got. A handful of men, he says, dashing down from 
the French frontier, could easily capture Madrid 
itself, as not a soldier is between the Pyrenees and the 
capital : and, such was the confusion, that it was 

1 Stanhope Correspondence. 


dangerous to drive out a mile from the walls of 
Madrid for fear of violence and robbery. 

Marie Anne with her camarilla was mistress of the 
situaTTDn, and the~n Mariana, when it was difficult to 
regairTEier lost power, dis^overe3~wliat fHeTaims of her 
German daughter-in-law Jwefei Ft will be recollected 
thaT^MarTana's daughter, the Infanta Margaret, Em- 
press, had died, leaving one daughter married to the 
Elector of Bavaria, and it was naturally her son, the 
boy Prince of Bavaria, to whom Mariana had looked 
to inherit _the Spanish crown, in default of issue to 
CHarles, and in accordance with the will of Philip iv. 
Marie Anne's mission from the Emperor and his 
second wife was, however, quite a different one, and 
aroused in Mariana the hottest indignation when she 
fully understood it. The plan was to put aside both 
the female lines descended from the daughters^ of 
Philip iv., "Maria Theresa, Queen of France, and the 
Empress Margaret, and to claim the succession of 
the Emperor's second son by his secoricT marriage with 
Marie Anne's sister, by virtue of his male descent 
from the Emperor^ Ferdinand, brother of Charles v. 

Marie Anne had around her a gang of blood-suckers 
almost as rapacious as herself, and, so long as they 
were Spaniards, the people suffered in silence. I But 
the Queen's most intimate councillors were Germans, 
who, undeterred by the fate of Nithard, vied with the 
Spaniards in grasping greed : and this aroused against 
Marie Anne the hatred of all who did not share in the 
booty. The strongest spirit in the Queen's entourage 

1 Stanhope says : ' Our new junta, which raisd so great expectations, at 
first, is now grown almost a jest ; especially since, at the time they took 
away all pensions from poor widows and orphans, the Duke of Osuna, 
one of the richest men in Spain, procured himself a pension of 6000 
crowns a year for life, by intercession of the confessor.' 


was the Baroness Berlips, to whom the crowd had 
given the nickname of 'the partridge,' from a slight 
resemblance in her name to the name of the bird in 
Castilian. Another German member was one Henry 
Jovier, a lame man of infamous character, who had 
served in the Spanish army, and to these after the 
first few months was added the Queen's Capuchin 
confessor Father Chiusa, also a German, who was 
brought purposely to replace the Jesuit confessor first 
appointed, the latter having been found not sufficiently 
pliant for the place. 

This was the gang that principally advised the Queen 
in^ heTlheasjjreSt and^withjijew Spanish grandees, 
especially the Duke of Montalto and the Admiral of 
Castile, practically formed the government Mariana 
was treated with the greatest hauteur by her daughter- 
in-law, buT had some of the ablest men in Spain on 
hef sicfe, of whom Cardinal Portocarrero was the 
most influential. The populace cordially hated Marie 
Anne, and dreaded the imperial domination of Spain 
which she represented ; whilst she took no pains to 
disguise her contempt for^tEem. JLouis xiv., in de- 
scribing the state of affairs shortly after this in his 
instructions to his ambassador, Harcourt, says : ' The 
Queen has acquired such a dominion over the spirit 
of^KeTTiusbarid thatf~lt may be said that she alone 
reigns as sovereign of Spain. . . . The authority of 
the Queen, however, is founded rather upon the fear 
of her anger than upon any love for her on the part 
of the nation. There is no people in the world so 
sensitive of praise as the Spaniards ; and consequently 
none who are so much affected by contempt. The 
Queen professes contempt for the whole nation, and, 
as offensive discourse is the only revenge of those 


who are excluded from power, it is not surprising to 
hear all the evil things that the public detestation 
causes to be said about her. It is, however, very 
true that she gives plenty of reasons for the re- 
proaches levelled against her with regard to her 
avidity in receiving and extorting presents ; and 
there is no one more ingenious than she in finding 
excuses for appropriating everything that is most 
valuable in Madrid, and for amassing every day fresh 
treasure for herself.' l 

In the spring of 1683 the King's weakness became 
so alarming that the physicians almost abandoned 
hope, and the intrigues around him grew in intensity. 
The last successful effort of Marie Louise before her 
death had been to extract from her husband a solemn 
promise that he would never cede to the persuasions 
of Mariana to appoint a successor to the crown until 
he had received the last sacrament on his deathbed ; 
and the King had managed so far to withstand all 
pressure put upon him to do so. The pressure was 
redoubled now, especially by Marie Anne, who took 
the opportunity of his illness to urge him to summon 
the Archduke Charles to Madrid, and adopt him as 
his successor. When the unfortunate King was waver- 
ing some one, probably Cardinal Portocarrero, warned 
him of the certain consequences, and whilst the hesita- 
tion continued the King partially recovered. 

Whilst the Court was thus given over to discord the 
condition of the country grew worse and worse. The 
Marquis of Mancera told Stanhope that the King was 
only nominally sovereign of the realms of Aragon. 
Spain, but for the power of her allies, was absolutely 
defenceless, and the public distress had reached to 

1 ' Recueil des Instructions/ etc. 
2 I 


such an extent that famine stalked unchecked through 
the land, and to protect the capital from depletion of 
food, a strict cordon was placed around it, to search 
every one entering or leaving the city. The Duke of 
Montalto had managed to ingratiate himself with the 
Queen sufficiently to obtain recognition as minister ; 
and his impracticable remedy was to divide the country 
into four autonomous provinces, ruled by viceroys 
practically independent of a central government. 
Against this violation of the constitutions all Spain 
cried aloud. 'These disasters coming so thick,' writes 
Stanhope in July 1694, ' has raised a very high ferment 
in the minds of people here, which expresses itself in 
great insolencies to the great men as they pass in the 
streets, and to one of the greatest even in the King's 
palace : and the royal authority itself begins to lose its 
veneration, several scandalous pasquins being fixed in 
several public places, magnifying the great King of 
France and with very little respect to his Catholic 
Majesty, inasmuch as if Mr. Russell had not appeared 
with his squadron as he did, it is generally believed 
some public scandals would have followed.' 

A few months later the same correspondent writes 
that the hatred of the public had greatly increased the 
strength of the faction opposed to Marie Anne, whose 
great infTuerice over the King they intended to destroy~f 
beginning if possible with the banishment of her bosom 
friend, Baroness Berlips. ' This lady's son, Baron 
Berlips, lately made his entry here, as envoy from the 
King of Poland, and as he went to his audience in the 
King's coach, a company of ruffians came to the coach 
side giving him and his mother very ill names ; one of 
them saying, ' Let us kill the dog.' Another replied, 
( Not now, for he is in the King's coach.' Nothing is 


so much talked about at present as ousting the Berlips, 
and then they think their monarchy safe.' 

Cardinal Portocarrero, who was the Queen's prime 
opponent, grew in boldness as he saw that public feel- 
ing was on his side, and both he and Mariana, when 
she could obtain access to her son, implored him to 
withstand the pressure of his termagant wife, and 
decline to divert the succession from that laid down 
by his father's will, which made the Prince of Bavaria 
his heir. At the end of 1694 tne Cardinal presented 
a formal State paper to the King, urging the expulsion 
of Marie Anne's German camarilla and the royal con- 
fessor Matilla, who were ruining the country by placing 
and maintaining in power men utterly unworthy to 
administer the government. The wretched King, 
between the hectoring of his 

his_mofher, the warnings of rival churchmen,, and the 
clamours of his people, swayed first to one side, and 
tben to the other, hating to discuss what was to take 
place when he was dead ; yet hearing of very little 
elso Hfe health, in the meanwhile, visibly declined ; 
and all parties thought that there was no time to waste. 
The Queen feeling probably the need for some stronger 
personality near her than Berlips, and the few other 
inferior Germans- who formed her council, soon caused 
herself to be reinforced by an imperial ambassador, 
Count Harrach, olie~15f~tlTe~a"blest~ diplomatists in the 
Emperor's service, and the party of old Mariana and 
her Bavarian grandson fell into the background. 

Mariana, indeed, was now almost past struggling ; 
afflicted "By a mortal disease and abandoned by" her 
physicians. She resorted, as usual, to charms and 
quackery of the most revolting description ; l but, in 

1 Stanhope Correspondence, 3rd May 1696. 


spite of incantations and empirical devices, JVIariana in 
May 1 696 endedjier-tu^bulent life^Jgaving the question^ 
of the suo:ej3sjon_slil^^ With the death 

ot the olcTQueen it was thought that the chance of the 
little Bavarian prince had disappeared ; and Marie 
Anne pushed more energetically than ever the claims 
ottrefnephew, the Archduke Charles Soon the King 
fell so seriously ill again that his life was despaired of, 
and the attempts of the Queen to obtain a will in the 
favour of the Archduke were redoubled. Like all 
semi-imbeciles, however, Charles, when once an idea 
had been drilled into his head, clung to it tenaciously ; 
and though, for the sake of peace, he seemed to agree 
with his wife, he did not forget his father's will and his 
mother's injunction, that his own sister's descendants 
had a better right to succeed him than a distant relative 
like the Archduke. Count Benavente, his lord of the 
bedchamber, although appointed by Marie Anne, was 
secretly against the Austrian ; and, with his knowledge 
and that of Cardinal Portocarrero alone, Charles signed 
a secret will, appointing his great nephew the child 
prince of Bavaria heir to his crown. 

Once again he recovered sufficiently to rise from his 
bed ; and Stanhope wrote on the iQth September 1696 ; 
' The King's danger is over for a time, but his consti- 
tution is so very weak and broken, much beyond his 
age, that it is feared what may be the success of 
another attack. They cut his hair off in this sickness, 
which the decay of nature had almost done before, all 

1 Stanhope reports, ' There is now great noise of a miracle done by a 
piece of a waistcoat she died in, on an old lame nun, who, in great faith, 
earnestly desired it, and no sooner applied it to her lips, but she was 
perfectly well and threw away her crutches. This, with some other 
stories that will not be wanting, may in time grow up to a canonisation.' 
Correspondence in * Spain under Charles n.' 


his crown being bald. He has a ravenous stomach, 
and swallows all he eats whole ; for his nether jaw 
stands out so much that his two rows of teeth cannot 
meet ; to compensate which he has a prodigious wide 
throat, so that a gizzard or a liver of a hen passes 
down whole, and his weak stomach not being able to 
digest it he voids it in the same manner.' 

No sooner was the immediate danger over than 
Mari(f~Anne wormed out of the King that he Kacl 
made his will in favouT"Df the Bavarian: Her rage 
and indignation knew no bounds, and she upbraided 
the King with hysterical violence, to which he retorted 
by childish outbursts, leading to the smashing of 
crockery, furniture, and the like, and usually ending 
in tears. Oropesa, who had just returned to Court 
TeconciTed to Marie Anne, added his persuasions to 
those of the Queen and the threats of the confessor, 
but for a time without success. In November 1696 
Stanhope reports that the King was still very ill, and 
obliged to keep his bed : ' although they sometimes 
make him rise out of his bed, much against his will 
and beyond his strength, the better to conceal his 
illness abroad. He is not only extremely weak in 
body, but has a great weight of melancholy and dis- 
content upon his spirits, attributed in a great measure 
to the Queen's continual importunities to make him 
alter his will.' 

At^ length, in September 1697, the sick man could 

withstand, rhp prpqsiirp no longer; anH during another 

grave attack, 1 at the instance of his wife and Harrach, 

1 His recovery from this attack was attributed to the body of St. Diego, 
which was brought to his bed ; and when the King got better, amidst the 
great rejoicings and bullfights to celebrate the miracle, Charles and his 
wife spent some days at Alcald worshipping the grim relic. Stanhope. 


tore up the will appointing the Prince of Bavaria his__ 
heir. Portocarrero had gone sojfar jistp_ threaten to 
call the Cortes together to confirm the will, and had 
exhorted the King to stand firm, but he had been 
powerless as_ against the strong will of Marie Anne. 
For a long time, however, Charles still held out against 
making another will in "favour of the Austrtan~an9 
only, at last, by threats and cajolery wa<; T^P indnrpH 
to write a letter to the Emperor asking him to send 
the Archduke to Spain with ten or twelve thousand 
men, on the pretext that they were required for the 
defence of Catalonia. 

~But the gigantic armaments needed by Louis xiv. 
to face all Europe victoriously, as he had done, was 
exhausting the jgsources of France, and peace was in 
tHe air. The need also for French agents to have a 
good chance in Madrid to push the succession claim 
also made Louis pliant ; and when the Peace of Rys- 
wick was signed in October 1697, tne world wa 
surprised at the generous terms accorded by the victor 
to Spain. With every chance of success, then, Louis 
"having restored the territory he had conquered, _he 
could pose as the true friend of Spain, ready to 
champion the rights of his descendants by Maria 
Theresa, the eldest daughter of Philip, against the 
unpopular Germans, to succeed to the Spanish throve. 
TKere~was much lost ground for the French to make 
up ; for the German factions had been in sole posses- 
sion ever since the death of Marie Louise in 1690; 
but the death of Mariana had left some~of her friends 
in the market, and all classes of Spaniards were sick 
to death of Germans ; so, as soon as the peace was 
signed, the Marquis d'Harcourt hurried to Madrid as 
French ambassador, primed with instructions, and 


supplied with means to re-constitute the French party 
in_ Spain, and defeat, if possible, the machinations of 
Queen Mane Anne. 

The first effect of the peace was to stop the project 
of bringing an Austrian army to Spain under the 
Archduke, and also the plan of the Elector of Bavaria 
to put in an appearance to counteract the Archduke's 
presence. The arrival of Harcourt at Madrid soon 
afterwards put a new complexion on affairs there. 
Stanhope writes, on the i4th March 1698, when the 
King had fallen again dangerously ill : ' Our Court is 
in great disorder : the grandees all dog and cat, Turk 
and Moor. The King is in a languishing condition, 
not in so imminent a danger as last week, but so weak 
and spent as to his principle of life, that all I can hear 
is pretended, amounts only to hopes of preserving him 
some weeks, without any probability of his recovery. 
The general inclination as to the succession is al- 
to^tFer French; their (i.e. the Spaniards') aversion 
to the Queen having set them against all her country- 
men : and if the French King will content himself 
that one of his younger children be King of Spain, 
without pretending to incorporate the two monarchies, 
he will find no opposition, either from grandees or 
common people. . . . The King is so very weak he 
can scarcely lift his hand to his head to feed himself, 
and so extremely melancholy, that neither his buffoons, 
dwarfs, nor puppet-shows, all of which have shown 
their abilities before him, can in the least divert him 
from fancying everything that is said or done is a 
temptation of the devil, and never thinking himself 
safe but with his confessor and* two friars by his side, 
whom he makes lie in his chamber every night.' 1 

1 Stanhope Correspondence. Mahon. 



In such circumstances as these it was evident to 
the Queen's opponents that a bold move must be 
made at once or she would win. Her most powerful 
abettor with the King was the confessor, Father 
Matilla; the ostensible ministers, the Admiral of 
Castile, 1 Montalto and Oropesa, after many wrangles 
with her, agreeing to let her have a free hand with 
her husband, if they were allowed to take a fair share 
of the national plunder ; the real government behind 
them being the Queen and her camarilla. The only 
man near the King who was inclined to favour the 
Bavarian heir was the lord chamberlain, Count Bena- 
vente, to whom one night, late in March 1698, Charles 
mumbled that he was very unhappy and uneasy in 
his conscience, and should like to see Cardinal 

The Cardinal Archbishop, who had been a close 
friend of Mariana's, and was a man of ability, had 
been carefully excluded from the King's chamber by 
Marie Anne. It was eleven o'clock at night, but 
swift secret messengers were soon at the Cardinal's 
door ; and before midnight, unknown to the Queen, 
the primate stood by the King's bed. Charles opened 
all the troubles of his terror-stricken soul to the friend 
of his dead mother : how the violence of his wife and 
the harshness of the confessor, Matilla, frightened him_ 
into adopting a course which his conscience told hirn___ 
was wrong, and he prayed the primate to help him with 
advice in this dire strait. Portocarrero was nothing^ 
loath. Hurrying from the palace, he hastily convened 
aTmeeting of his friends. Count Monterey, the Marquis 

1 The Admiral of Castile, who was the Queen's most ostentatious 
champion, though she often quarrelled with him, was really betraying her 
all the time (' Recueil des Instructions '). 


of Legan^s, Don Sebastian de Cotes, Don Francisco 
Ronquillo, the idol of the populace, and Don Juan 
Antonio Urraca. 

What was to be done, and who should do it, before 
the Queen could banish them all ? Monterey, in his 
stumbling speech, pointed out the danger of acting 
through the King at all, seeing that the Queen could 
twist him round her finger and make him alter any 
resolution he adopted, as she had done before. The 
best course, he said, would be for the Cardinal to 
frequent the King's chamber, ostensibly to give spiritual 
consolation, and then very gradually to prepare the 
King's mind for a change. Others thought that this 
process was too slow, since the King might slip 
through their hands after all, and Leganes advised 
that the Cardinal should immediately urge the King 
to order the arrest and imprisonment of the detested 
Admiral of Castile, the Duke of Rio Seco. ' His only 
escort,' said Legan6s, ' were four knavish poets and a 
couple of buffoons,' whilst he, Legan6s, had plenty of 
arms at home and two hundred soldiers in his pay, 
and could seize the most objectionable ministers at once. 
Then turbulent Ronquillo had his say. They must 
strike higher than the Admiral. The Queen as well 
must be seized as soon as her henchman was laid by 
the heels, and the Huelgas at Burgos should be her 
future place of confinement. Let us be practical, said 
Monterey, sneering at Ronquillo for a fool : if we 
offer violence to the Queen the excitement will kill 
the King before we can get a will or decree executed. 
We must act more cautiously than that. Then the 
two angry nobles clapped their hands to their swords, 
and were for fighting it out on the spot, until the 
Cardinal separated them, and wise old Cotes, with his 


quiet voice, calmly gave his opinion. It would be 
easy for the Cardinal to obtain such a decree as that 
required, but the Queen would get it revoked the 
next morning more easily still, and then, what would 
happen to all of us ? Let us, he said, strike at the 
trunk by all means, if possible, and get rid of the 
Queen : but how ? Before that can be done we should 
putTMatilla, the confessor, out of the way. The King 
hated and feared him already, and only yesterday 
refused to speak to him : let the Cardinal and Bena- 
vente advise the King to change his confessor, and 
the next step will be easy. This seemed good advice; 
but the jealous hidalgos then fell to quarrelling as to 
who the new confessor should be, with the result that 
the choice was ultimately left to the Cardinal. 

The next morning Cotes suggested to his colleagues 
a certain modest professor of theology at Alcala, one 
Father Froilan Diaz, for the post. He was near 
enough to the capital to be brought thither without 
delay, and would be humble enough to do as he was 
told : and so it was decided to secure the great 
appointment to Father Diaz. There was no lack of 
messengers to carry to him from the conspirators the 
news of his coming elevation, for each of them, espe- 
cially Ronquillo, wished to gain the credit of proposing 
it ; and the next day the astounded professor found 
himself already by anticipation a person to be courted 
by the greatest grandees in the land. 

One day, early in the morning, in the first week in 
April, the sick King lay in bed listening dreamily 
to some music being played in the ante-chamber, the 
door between the rooms being open. Father Matilla 
and a crony of his, one Dr. Parra, were quietly chatting 
in one of the deep window recesses of the ante- 


chamber ; when suddenly Count Benavente entered 
unannounced, accompanied by a stout, fresh-coloured 
ecclesiastic ; and, without saluting Matilla, they walked 
straight through into the King's bedroom, which 
Benavente alone was entitled to do, as lord chamber- 
lain. Matilla was keen-witted, and saw at a glance 
what it meant. Turning to his friend, he said, ' Good- 
bye : this business is ending just as it ought to have 
begun ; ' and with that he hurried out of the palace 
and to the monastery of his order in Madrid. 

Spies had already carried to Marie Anne and the 
Admiral reports of mysterious confabulations of th<eir 
enemies, but they knew not where the blow was to 
Tall.~ At eleven o'clock the King usually dined ; and 
when Marie Anne, according to custom, entered the 
room that morning, to sit by his side whilst he ate, 
shejearnt for the first time from the disjointed babble 
of the^ickmcm, that he was free^rom_j\|a.tilla^ajid 
had a new confessor^ 1 Marie Anne was aghast at the 
news,~fhough she made no sign of disapproval to her 
husband ; but the moment she could leave the King's 
side, she summoned the Admiral and her other 
advisers, and considered the ill tidings. None knew 
who would be the next victim, and most of them 
thought that Matilla had betrayed them. Panic and 
bewilderment reigned amongst the chosen Camarilla. 
Some were for striving to reinstate Matilla, some for 
punishing him, others were for saving themselves by 
resignation and flight, but one great churchman, the 
head of the Franciscan order, Folch de Cardona, kept 
his head, and advised calmness. Matilla was exoner- 

1 The account here given is taken mainly from a contemporary MS., 
written by an officer of the Inquisition and an adherent of Portocarrero, 
in the British Museum, Add. 10,241 : and from another account printed 
in Madrid, 1787. 


ated and consulted ; but when he learned that the 
Queen and the Admiral had known of Portocarrero's 
meeting before the blow fell, he broke down. 'Oh,' 
he cried, ' if I had only known one short half-hour 
before, I could have saved us all : ' and then, though 
nominally pensioned and banished to Salamanca, he_ 
fell ill of grief, fever, or poison, and died within a 
week of his dismissal. 

T)iaz did not seem very terrible at first ; for his 
methods with the King were soothing, and he moved 
slowly. He took Matilla's place on the Council of 
the Inquisition, and at once became a power in the 
land ; but he was all politeness and gentle saintliness 
to Marie Anne, and even she, suspicious as she was, 
began to think that she might jjominate still if she 
could confine Father "Diaz to his spiritual^ Junctions. 
In the coTiree~~Trf~ar ftew~~weeks after the change, the 
Court was moved to Toledo, but there the mob, who 
loved the Ronquillo brothers, and hated the Queen, 
knowing that she had suffered a defeat, made her 
feel that her power was on the wane. ' The Queen,' 
writes Stanhope, ' is very uneasy at the impudent 
railleries of the Toledo women, who affront her 
every day publicly in the streets, and insult the 
Admiral to his face. There is besides a great want 
of money ; for the King's new confessor having per- 
suaded him before he left Madrid to publish a decree 
forbidding the sale of all governments and offices, 
either in present or reversion, as a duty of conscience 
. . . the superintendent of the revenues declares that 
he is not able to find money for his Majesty's sub- 
sistence, all branches of the revenue being anticipated 
for many years, and he is now debarred from selling 
offices, which was the only resource he had left.' 


In the meanwhile, the French ambassador, Harcourt, 
was busy buying friends at Court, though most of old 
Mariana's late adherents still preferred, as the King 
undmibtejl}^idrtEe^aYaTia.ii Prince: Tfi^people at 
large were strongly in favour of a Frejich jDrince, 
descended from Maria Theresa, 'though they would 
raTher have the devil/ as Stanhope says, * than see 
France and Spain united,. . . . It is scarce conceivable 
tK(* abhorrence they have for Vienna ; most of which 
is owing to the Queen's very imprudent conduct ; 
insomuch that, in effect, that party is included in her 
own person and family. They have much kinder 
thoughts of the Bavarian, but still rather desire a 
French Prince to secure them against war.' 

The intrigues of the French ambassador were met 
by increased activity on the part of the Queen, wKo 
left Charles no rest in pushing the claims of her 
nephew the Archduke. The poor King was sick of 
the whole business, and only wished to be left alone, 
and for his Bavarian nephew to succeed him. The 
King will not bear to hear talk of business of any 
kind, and when sometimes the Queen cannot contain 
herself, he bids her let him alone, and says she designs 
to kill him.' I A few weeks later (25th June) the 
English ambassador sent this vivid picture of the 
invalid : * Our gazettes here tell us every week that 
his Catholic Majesty is in perfect health. ... It is 
true that he is every day abroad, but h&ret lateri 
lethalis arundo ; his ankles and knees swell again, his 
eyes bag, the lids are as red as scarlet, and the rest of 
his face a greenish yellow. His tongue is " tied," as it is 
called, that is, he has such a fumbling in his speech, 
that those near him hardly understand him ; at which 

1 'Stanhope Correspondence,' Mahon^ nth June 1698. 


he sometimes grows angry, and asks if they all be 

But, with all his feebleness, Charles still resisted the 
pressure upon him either to make a will or to summon 
the Archduke. Marie Anne was persistent ; and "air 7 , 
the end of June her importunity producedlTBangerpus 
fit that nearly ended the King's life there and then, 
after which Stanhope writes : ' There is not the least 
hope of this King's recovery ; and we are every night 
in apprehensions of hearing he is dead in the morning, 
though the Queen lugs him out every day, to make 
the people believe he is well till her designs are rife, 
which I rather fear will prove abortive ; for, by the 
best information I can get of the three pretenders, 
her candidate is like to have the fewest votes. Upon 
old Count Harrach's pressing the King to have the 
Archduke Charles sent for to Spain ... he gave no 
answer, but turning to the Queen, who was present, 
said laughing, " Oyga mujer, el Conde aprieta mucho" 
(Hark, wife, how very pressing the Count is) repeating 
" very pressing " several times. The French Ambas- 
sador " presses " just as much, and the Nuncio, in the 
Pope's name, also for the French.' 

These signs were not lost on Marie Anne, and she 
began to turn to the strongest side. Harcourt and his 
wife were charming and liberal, and had quite 
captivated the Madrid crowd, who cheered them 
wherever they went, whilst Harrach and his wife were 
unattractive and unpopular; but what was more im- 
portant than anything else, now that Spanish resources 
were failing, French money was forthcoming to buy 
Baroness Berlips and the Queen's German hangers 
on. The Marquise of Harcourt paid assiduous court 
to Marie Anne, who, seeing the impossibility of her own 


candidate, listened, beguiled, to the clever suggestion 
of the French that if she would abandon the Emperor's 
son, she might continue Queen of Spain by a marriage 
with the French prince who might succeed Charles. 

For a time, in the late autumn of 1698, the French 
cause suffered a setback^ Louis apparently considering 
that his chance of placing a French prince upon the 
throne of all the Spanish dominions in face of Europe 
would be impracticable, revived a scheme that he had 
agreed upon with the Emperor years before, when 
Charles was a child ; namely, to partition Spain, by 
agreement with the maritime powers, between the 
three claimants : a French prince to take Naples, 
Sicily, and the Basque province, the Prince of Bavaria 
to reign in Spain itself, and Austria to be contented 
with Milan. This, when it was divulged, aroused the 
intensest indignation, not only in Spain, but in Austria 
and Bavaria. Harcourt and his wife lost their favour 
at once, and Marie Anne again leaned towards Jier 
( TpnTTan^jnsrnp.n . What was more important still, 
the King at last, under pressure which will be presently 
explained, made a testament declaring the Prince of 
Bavaria his heir. Marie Anne, the King himself, and 
the Council, alT denied it ; but it was soon known to 
be true, and the French ambassador immediately 
presented a demand that Cortes should be summoned 
to settle the succession by vote. 

Suddenly, whilst this demand was being laboriously 
discussed, the news came tBat the little Bavarian prince, 
the only descendant of old Mariana except the King, had 
die37agedsix of poisoivit was said, in February 1699 ; 
Imd the problerrTor tHe succession was changecTjn a 
moment. Bribed and cajoled by hopes of remaining 
of Spain by a second marriage, Marie Anne 


again seemed inclined to side with those who had been^ 
Her enemies. Most of the partisans of the Bavarian 
claimant, including the King himself, and especially 
Portocarrero, went over to the French view ; and the 
principal reason why Marie Anne held herself in doubt 
was because she saw those whom she hated all ranged 
on the side of France. 

Whilst this sordid bickering was going on in the 
palace the distress in the country increased daily, until 
famine invaded even" the capital The jiew confessor 
and Cardinal Portocarrero had, as yet, made no great 
ctiange in the government ; and Marie Anne's friends 
were still in office, headed by Oropesa and the Admiral. 
Ronquillo and his fellow-conspirators were growing 
impatient for their reward, and incited secretly by their 
agents, the populace of Madrid broke into revolt in 
April 1699. A howling mob surrounded the palace, 
crying for bread. ' Long live the King, and death to 
Oropesa,' was the cry. Inside the palace panic reigned 
supreme, and poor Charles was like to die with fright, 
when the rabble demanded fiercely that he should 
show himself upon the balcony. Marie Anne appeared 
at the open window undaunted, and told the crowd 
that the King was asleep. ' He has slept too long,' 
was the reply, ' wake him ' ; and at last the King had 
to appear, looking, as Stanhope says, like a ghost, and 
moving as if by clock work. Ronquillo ! Ronquillo ! 
shouted the mob. We will have Ronquillo for mayor : 
and in a hurry Ronquillo was sent for and sworn in as 
mayor, which somewhat appeased the insurgents, who 
bore him off in triumph. Oropesa's palace was ablaze, 
and a rush upon it by the mob had resulted in many of 
the latter being killed, and cast into a well within the 
precincts by Oropesa's servants. Further enraged at 


this, the populace surged en masse to the King's palace, 
clamouring for the heads of Oropesa and the Admiral ; 
and they were with difficulty restrained from invading 
the royal apartments by the clergy, with raised cruci- 
fixes and holy symbols. Again they demanded the 
presence of the King, who told them that Ronquillo 
had orders to do everything to satisfy them, and 
promised, on his oath as a King, that the insurgents 
should be held harmless for the tumult. 

A clean sweep was made of Marie Anne's Jriends. 
The" Admiral fled t^^lctmg^nancT Portocarrero declared 
that within a week or two he would have Berlips, the 
Capuchin confessor of the Queen, and the whole gang 
cleared out of Spain. The day after the tumult Stan- 
hope wrote : ' The King is very weak, and declines fast. 
The tumult yesterday, I fear, may have some ill-effect 
further on his health. It was such as the like never 
before happened in Madrid in the memory of the oldest 
men here, and proves, contrary to what they brag of, 
that there is a mob here as well as in other places.' 
The whole aspect of the palace changed as if by magic, 
and Cardinal Portocarrero was supreme. Marie Anne, 
cowed by the violence and vituperation of the mob^ 
was glad to lie low, and did not attempt to influence 
the King, whose health declined every dayT" 

Since the death of the Bavarian claimant in February 
the matter of the succession had remained in abeyance ; 
and it was evident now that unless the King was in- 
deed very soon to declare his heir by testament he 
would die with the question still open. But poor 
Charles shrunk from the execution of an act, which he 
had always said he would only do in articulo mortis, 
and the persuasions of those about him were always 
met by a fresh plea for delay. In this deadlock of 

2 K 


affairs a course was adopted by the dominant party 
which will always furnish one of the most repulsive 
episodes of history. During his first grave attack at 
the end of 1697, Charles, who was as superstitious as 
he was ignorant, sent for Rocaberti, the Inquistor- 
General, a stern Dominican, and confessed that he 
believed his illness to be the result of a maleficent 
charm cast upon him. The Inquisitor replied that he 
would have the case examined ; but he saw no prob- 
ability of result unless the King would point out some 
person whom he suspected, or gave some evidence to 
proceed upon. 

There the matter remained until Froilan Diaz was 
substituted, as has been related, for Matilla as the 
King's confessor. Probably as part of a concerted 
plan to obtain complete control over him, Diaz appeared 
to agree with Charles in his expressed belief that he 
was bewitched ; and, having heard that an old friend 
of his in a convent in Galicia, had by many efficacious 
exorcisms become quite familiar with the evil spirits 
that he cast out, he consulted the Inquisitor-General 
Rocaberti, as to whether it would be well to summon 
the priestly exerciser to the King. The Inquisitor 
did not like the business, but consented to a letter 
being written to the Bishop of Oviedo, the exerciser's 
spiritual superior, asking him to submit to the latter 
the question as to the truth of the statement that the 
King was suffering from diabolical arts. The bishop, 
determined not to be made the channel of such non- 
sense, replied that the only witchcraft the King was 
suffering from was weakness of constitution and a too 
ready acquiescence in his wife's will ; and he refused 
to have anything to do with it. Diaz then sent direct 
to Argtielles the exerciser in July 1698, instructing 


him to lay upon his breast a paper with the names of 
the King and Queen written upon it, and summon the 
devil to ask if the persons whose names were written 
were bewitched. 

Thenceforward for eight or nine months the ghastly 
mockery went on. 1 The devil announced that the 
King was bewitched : * et hoc ad destruendam materiam 
generationis in Rege, et eum incapacem ponendum ad 
regnum administrandum ' ; the charm having heen 
administered by moonlight when the King was four- 
teen years old. Repulsive remedies were prescribed 
which, if administered, would certainly have killed the 
patient, others were recommended just as hideous but 
less harmful ; and the poor creature was submitted to 
them. At length, after the will in favour of the 
Bavarian had been wrung from the King by many 
months of this ghastly nonsense, it was seen that the 
exerciser was aiming at gaining influence for himself. 
He said that the charms had been administered by the 
King's mother, and repeated much dangerous political 
advice that the devil had given, such as to recommend 
the complete isolation of the King from his wife, and 
other things less palatable to Portocarrero and the 
French party ; and the exerciser, being able to get no 
further, was dropped in June 1699. 

This was the time when the King was suffering 
from the shock of the recent tumults, and Stanhope 
writes : 'His Catholic Majesty grows every day sen- 
sibly worse and worse. It is true that last Thursday 
they made him walk in the public solemn procession 
of Corpus, which was much shortened for his sake. 

1 Every detail of the correspondence will be found in the MSS. already 
referred to, and, in English, in ' The Exorcism of Charles the Bewitched,' 
in ' The Year after the Armada,' etc., by the present writer. 


However, he performed it so feebly that all who saw 
him said he could not make one straight step, but 
staggered all the way ; nor could it be otherwise ex- 
pected after he had had two falls a day or two before, 
walking in his own lodgings, when his legs doubled 
under him by mere weakness. In one of them he 
hurt his eye, which appeared much swelled, and black 
and blue ; the other being quite sunk into his head, 
the nerves being contracted by his paralytic distemper. 
Yet it was thought fit to have him make this sad figure 
in public, only to have it put into the Gazette how 
strong and vigorous he is.' 

At this juncture JMarie^Anne's suspicions were first 
aroused prThe witchcraft business by a hint dropped 
by-jhe King, and she at once set spies upon those/ 
who had access to him, and especially upon Diaz the 
confessor. A very few days convinced her that the 
ghastly incantations that were being carried on were 
directed against her, politically and personally. ' Roar- 
ing with very rage,' she summoned her friends and 
demanded instant revenge and punishment of the 
King's confessor. 1 She was reminded by Folch de 
Cardona, that as the Inquisitor-General was concerned 
in the matter, it would be prudent to go cautiously 
until it was seen how far the Holy Office itself was a 
party : and, in any case, he said it would be wisest to 
allow the Inquisition to avenge her rather than for her 
to do it and thereby make herself more unpopular than 
she was. It was soon found that the Sacred Tribunal 
was not concerned ; but as Rocaberti, the dreaded 
chief Inquisitor, had been active in the matter, no one 
dared to move against Diaz or him, for Inquisitors 

1 MSS. account already referred to. British Museum MSS., Add. 


were dangerous people to touch. Almost immediately 
afterwards Rocaberti died suddenly, almost certainly 
poisoned ; and then Marie Anne laid her plans to 
crush Father Diaz the confessor 

Stanhope writes (i5th July) : ' The doctors, not 
knowing what more to do with the King, to save 
their credit have bethought themselves to say his ill 
must certainly be witchcraft, and there is a great 
Court party who greedily catch at and improve the 
report, which, how ridiculous soever it may sound in 
England, is generally believed here, and propagated 
by others to serve a turn. They, finding all their 
attempts in vain to banish Madame Berlips, think 
this cannot fail, and are using to find out any colour- 
able pretences to make her the witch.' It was higher 
game even than Berlips that they were aiming at. 
Berlips stood behind the Queen, and one could not 
be injured without the other. 

In September a mad woman, in a state of frenzy, 
burst into the King's presence, foaming at the mouth, 
and cursed him with demoniac shrieks until she was 
removed by force, leaving Charles in an agony of 
terror which nearly killed him. The mad woman was 
followed, and it was found that she lived with two 
other demoniacs who were under the impression that 
they were keeping the King subject in their room. 
This nonsense was conveyed to the King by Diaz, 
and confirmed the invalid in his conviction that he 
was under the influence of sorcery. In this belief 
he ordered that the three women should be exorcised 
by a famous German monk, who had been brought 
to Spain as an able exerciser for the King's benefit. 
Diaz, who superintended the incantations, unfortunately 
for himself, dictated questions to the demoniacs which 


were evidently designed to involve the Queen. Who 
was it that caused the King's malady ? A beautiful 
woman, was the answer. Was it the Queen ? and 
to this no distinct reply was given. But the question 
was enough ; and when Marie Anne received a full 
report of the proceedings, as she did from her spies, 
she was, of course, furious that an open attempt should 
be made to cast upon her the blame of the witchcraft. 

The first step towards her revenge was to get a 
new Inquisitor-General in her interest, and she pressed 
the King to appoint Folch de Cardona, General of 
the Franciscans. He refused, prompted no doubt by 
his confessor, and, in spite of Marie Anne's passionate 
outbursts of protest, he appointed Cardinal Cordova ; 
to whom the King and the confessor unburdened 
themselves completely, and told the whole story of 
the exorcism. From these conferences an extra- 
ordinary resolution resulted. The Queen herself was 
too high to strike at first ; but her great friend and 
late all-powerful minister, the Admiral of Castile, was 
detested and despised by every one, and might be 
attacked with impunity to begin with. So it was 
decided that he, being allied with the devil to cause 
all the mischief, should be seized by the Inquisition 
of Granada and closely imprisoned, whilst his house- 
hold should be incarcerated elsewhere, and his papers 
seized by the holy office. This could not be done, 
however, until the new Inquisitor-General's appoint- 
ment was ratified by the Pope. Once more Marie 
Anne and her friends trumped their opponents' strong 
suit, for Cardinal Cordova died of poison on the very 
day that the bull arrived. 

Again Marie Anne pressed her husband to appoint 
one of her tools Inquisitor-General; but Father Diaz 


was now fighting for his life, and prevented the ap- 
pointment. Marie Anne then sought out a man who 
would be acceptable to her opponents, but whom she 
might buy, and Mendoza, Bishop of Segovia, became 
Inquisitor- General, bribed by the Queen with the 
promise of a cardinal's hat to do her bidding in 
future. Marie Anne had the whip hand and promptly 
used it. Stanhope wTote on the 22~nd August :' As" 
to Court factions, her Majesty is now as high as ever, 
and the Cardinal of Toledo, who carried everything 
before him two months ago, now dares hardly to open 
his mouth. But he is sullen, comes seldom to Court, 
and talks of retiring to Toledo.' First the German 
exerciser was captured, and under torture confessed 
the details of the exorcism of the three demoniacs 
when Diaz was present ; then the compromising cor- 
respondence with the exerciser in Galicia was seized, 
with all the hints and suggestions made in it to 
incriminate the Queen. This was sufficient evidence 
against Diaz, and he was arrested. Everything he 
had done, he said, was by the King's orders ; and as 
royal confessor he claimed immunity, his mouth being 
closed. He was at once dismissed from all his offices, 
and the King was appealed to by the Inquisitor- 
General to allow the confessor's privileges to be dis- 
pensed with. Charles could only mumble that they 
might do justice ; but Diaz had a powerful party 
behind him who took care to spread abroad the story 
of the Queen's vengeance, and Diaz, aided by many 
of his late colleagues on the Council of the Inquisition, 
fled to the coast, and so to Rome. There he was 
seized and brought back to Spain ; and thenceforward, 
for many years, there raged around him a great and 
unparalleled contest between the Council of the Inqui- 


sition, which favoured Diaz, and the Inquisitor-General 
in the interests of the Queen's vengeance. 1 

Marie Anne had won, so far as the King's confessor 
w'as concerned, but her unpopularity was so great that 
she gained no ground politically ; nor did her German 
candidate for the succession improve in his chance of 
success, for Cardinal .Fortocarrero and his friends filled 
HP the "administrative orhces, and IViarie Anne was 
powerless. Stanhope wrote in September 1699 : 'One 
rilghfTast week a troop of about three hundred, with 
swords, bucklers and firearms, went into the outward 
court of the palace and, under the King's window, 
sung most impudent lampoons and pasquins ; and the 
Queen does not appear in the streets without hearing 
herself cursed to her face. . . . The pasquins plainly 
tell her they will pull her out of the palace and put 
her in a convent, adding that their party is no less 
than 14,000 strong. This new turn has damped the 
discourse, which was very hot lately, of the Admiral's 
return to Court, and the Cardinal of Toledo is now 
like to be the great man again/' 2 

Every day some fresh sign was given that Marie 
Anne's foes were paramount. 'Our great German 
lady, the Countess of Berlips, is going, nor does she 
go alone ; but all the rest of the German tribe are to 
accompany her, namely, a fine young lady, her niece, 
a German woman, a dwarf, an eunuch, the Queen's 
German doctor, the Capuchin, her confessor, and 
Father Carapacci . . . who, though no German, yet 
is one of the Queen's chief agents, and as great an 
eyesore to the people as any of them. This seems a 

1 This struggle, which cannot be described here, is fully narrated in 
'The Exorcism of Charles the Bewitched' ('Year After the Armada'), by 
Martin Hume. 2 Stanhope Correspondence. Mahon. 


great reform, but I believe will prove no amendment, 
for I expect to see others as greedy, if not more so, 
to take their places.' 1 

JTh.e_ French party was now absolutely ^paramount ; 
for the money and diplomatic skill of Louis xiv^had 
been lavishly employed ingaining _ friends from, those 
wHo had been in favour of the Bavarian pri"* ; and 
Marie Anne herself, though she had now the Inquisitor- 
General on her side, could hardly get a word alone 
with her dying husband. Charles lingered on . in^ 
morbid melancholy tor many months longer. Like 
his father, in similar case, he found the royal charnel- 
house at the Escorial a resort that suited his humour. 
On one occasion it is related that, with Marie Anne 
4t his side, he caused the coffins of his relatives to be 
opened and the bodies exposed to view. He was 
deeply affected by the sight of the corpse that had 
once been the beautiful Marie Louise, the wife of his 
youth, whose dead face he caressed, with tears and 
promises to join her soon, whilst Marie Anne, as a 
reply to the King's affection for his dead French wife, 
kissed the crumbling hand of old German Mariana, 
whose enemy she had been on earth. 

Whilst the Spanish Court and so-called government 
were thus employed in degrading superstitions and 
petty squabbles, the fate of the nation, reduced now 
to utter impotence, was being discussed and settled 
by foreign powers^ Louis xiv., still desirous, if possible 
of securing for France without war the portion of 
Spain's inheritance which mainly interested him, made 
early in 1700, another treaty with England and Hol- 
land for the partition of Spain between the claimants 
and others interested, threatening that if the Emperor 

1 Stanhope Correspondence. Mahon. 


refused to accept the terms offered the invasion of 
Spain by France would follow, and the whole inherit- 
ance claimed for the Dauphin at the sword's point. 
The Emperor indignantly rejected the advance, alicl 
also claimed to be sole heir : the Spaniards, and even 
their moribund King, blazing out in anger with some 
of their old pride at this unceremonious dismember- 
ment of their ancient realm. Stanhope's expulsion 
from Spain followed quickly upon this new attempt 
at partition, and for a short time the French cause 
looked black. Then the Austrians, to make their 
assurance doubly sure, endeavoured to secure Marie 
Anne firmly to their side by the same means as those 
that Harcourt had employed to win her for the French 
faction. They promised that if she aided them the 
Archduke.__her^ nephew, when he became King^of 
Spain should marry her. The Queen was delighted ; 
and in order to deal one more blow at the French 
claim, went to her husband and divulged to him, not 
the Austrian but the former Rfgjlgb offe r . of : mg^Ha gg* 
Charles was tired of life and utterly muddled with the 
atmosphere of intrigue in which he lived ; but even 
he protested in impotent passion against his wife 
being wooed before he was dead, and_this_in greased 
his dislike of the French claim amythough Louis xiv. 
recalled Harcourt and disclaimed theoffer he had made. 
But Cardinal Portocarrero was always by the King's 
side, and exercised more influence over him than any 
one else. He, in his sacred character, warned Charles 
that it was his duty to his conscience to lay aside 
personal partialities, and to summon a conference of 
the most famous theologians and jurisconsults to 
discuss and decide the question of the succession. 
Portocarrero took care that such conferences should 


result in a vote in favour of Louis xiv.'s young grand- 
son, Philip Duke of Anjou. measures being taken to 
prevent any future joining of the two realms under one 
crown. Charles was hard to convince, for he clung to 
the Empire both by tradition and at the pleading of 
his wife ; and Portocarrero then told him that it was 
His duty to submit his doubts to the Pope., Charles 
was devout, and did so. Innocent XL had all along 
been an enemy of Austria and a friend of France ; and, . 
as Portocarrero of course anticipated, decided in favour 
ofjthe Duke of Anjou as the legitimate heir. 1 

B ut still Charles hesitated . Marie Anne was in^ 
defatigable in persuading him to favour the Austrian, 
and' always managedf to prevent the fateful will being 
made in Anjou's favour ; distracting her dying husband, 
even at this pass, with the vain shows, bull fights, 
tourneys, and the like, which had been for so long the 
traditional pleasures of his Court. She even en- 
deavoured to make terms with her enemies again, 
in order to be safe in any eventuality ; but Louis xiv. 
began to speak more haughtily now ; threatening war 
if a single German soldier set foot in Spain or resistance 
was offered to the partition. There was nothing that 
Charles and his people dreaded more than the dis- 
memberment of the country, and this frightened the 
King into looking upon the acceptance of the French 
claim as the only means of keeping Spain intact. 
Thus, from day to day, the irresolute monarch turned 
to' one side or another, as his wife oTTortocarrero, big 
fears or his affectiong^amed the upper hand. 

On the 20th September he took to his "bed to rise 

1 There is no doubt whatever that the French claim through Maria 
Theresa and Anna of Austria, Queens of France, was the legitimate one, 
and that the Emperor had no valid right by Spanish law. 


no more, and a few days afterwards received the last 
sacrament, asking for pardon of all whom he had 
unconsciously offended. The sick chamber assumed 
the appearance of a mingled charnel house and toy- 
shop, as the pale figure of the King upon his great bed 
grew more ghastly and hopeless. All the sacred relics 
in the capital were crowded into the room ; carved 
saints, blessed rosaries and mouldering human remains, 
until, to make space for fresh comers, the less renowned 
objects had to be removed. The Primate of Spain, 
Portocarrero, made the most of the priestly privilege ; 
and, in the interests of the dying King's religious 
consolation, he kept from his side Marie Anne and 
her allies, the Inquisitor-General and the King's 
regular confessor. Alone with the King, the Cardinal 
admonished him that in order to avoid dying in a state of 
sin, it was necessary for him to avert war from the country 
by making a will, leaving his crown to the Duke of Anjou, 
putting aside all personal leanings and family ties. 

Charles could resist no longer. He was in terror ; 
the spectre of sin and devilish temptations always 
before him, and summoning the Secretary of State, 
Ubilla, he himself directed him to draft a will in 
favour of hjs^young FrencETgreat-nephew, the^ Duke 
ot Anjou. On the 3rd October 1700, the document 

was placed before him. Around his bed stood 
Cardinals Portocarrero and Borgia, and the highest 
officers of the household ; but Marie Anne of Neuburg^ 
was not there to see the final shattering of her hopes. 
With trembling hand Charles the Bewitched took the 
pen. 'God alone gives kingdoms,' he sighed, 'for to 
Him all kingdoms belong.' Then signing in his great 
uncultured writing ; ' I, the King,' he dropped the pen, 
saying, ' I am nothing now : ' and thus the die was 


cast, the house of Austria gave place to the house o 
Bourbon. Marie Anne did not even yet accept defeat 
meekly. In an interval of partial improvement in the 
King's health, she returned to the attack, and with 
tears and protestations, induced the King to think well 
again of his Austrian kinsmen. A courier was sent 
hurrying to Vienna to tell the Emperor, that, after all, 
the last will would make his son the heir of Spain, and 
a codicil was signed conferring upon Marie Anne the 
governorship of any city in Spain or Spanish State in 
Italy or Flanders in which she might choose to reside 
after her husband's death. 

Soon_af3texwards (26th October) a ^decree-was. .signed 
by Charles, who seemed then to be dying, appointing 
a provisional government, headed by Marie Anne, 
with Portocarrero and other great officers, to rule , 
pending the arrival of tfrp n^w K"ing ; whilst Porto- 
carrero was nominated to act as Regent if the King, 
though still alive, might be unable to exercise his 
functions. With all the terror-stricken devotion that 
had been traditional in his house, the last few days on 
earth of Charles the Bewitched were passed, and on 
the jst November 1700, the last Descendant in the 
male line of the great UmperofCharles v. t died_of 
senile old age before he was forty~the victim^of four 
generations of incest ; leaving 7 as his legacy to the 
world a greatjwar which changed the face of Europe, 
and decided the future course of civilisation. 

The terms of the will had been kept a close secret ; 
and as soon as the King's death was known, the 
Palace of Madrid was packed with an eager crowd of 
nobles and magnates to learn the name of their future 
king. The will was read solemnly in the presence of 
Marie Anne and the principal great officers ; and soon 


the news was spread that Spain was free from the 
house of Austria, which had been the cause of its 
greatness and its ruin. Marie Anne, at the head of 
the Council of Regency, had but a short term of power, 
and, as may be suppose37 considering her imperious 
nature, a far from harmonious one. Louis xiv., how- 
ever, lost no time ; and the bright handsome lad, full 
of hope and spirit, thenceforward Philip v. of Spain, 
hurried south to take possession of his inheritance" 
alrnost'before the Emperor had time to protest. 

On tEe F8th February 170!, Philip "arrived in 
Madrid ; and his first act was to confirm Portocarrero 
as his leading minister. Marie Anne had quarrelled 
with her colleagues before this, and they had com- 
plained of her to the young King before his arrival. 
She had been defeated indeed ; for she saw now that 
the marriage bait that had been held out to her was 
illusory ; and when the order came to her from the new 
King to leave Madrid before he entered it, she went, 
full of plans for revenge still, to her place of *banish- 
ment at Toledo ; yet with kindly professions upon her 
lips, for the large pension of 400,000 ducats settled 
upon her by Charles, was too valuable to be jeopardised 
by open opposition to the ruling powers. She was all 
smiles when young Philip visited her at Toledo soon 
after his arrival ; and she hung around his neck a 
splendidly jewelled badge of the Golden Fleece as a 
token of her recognition of his sovereignty. But 
when the war broke out, and the Archduke, her 
nephew, with his allies came to fight for the prize he 
claimed, Marie Anne could hardly be expected to 
stand quite aloof. In 1706, the victorious Austrian 
and his allies were carried by the fortune of war into 
Toledo ; and Marie Anne welcomed her nephew with 


effusive joy as King of Spain ; but when the turn of 
the jide carried Philip v. into power^ again, a few 
months^ later, two hundred horsemen, under the Duke 
of Osuna, clattered into the courtyard of Marie Anne's 
convent retreat at Toledo, and arrestecTjhe^ Queen, 
carrying her thence as rapidly as horses could travel 
over the frontier to France. 

At Bayonne, Marie Anne lived in retirement for 
n i rie years, when a strange revolution of fortune"' s 
wheel brought her back to Spam again triumphant. 
I n the stately Morisco Palace at Guadalajara, Marie 
Annepassed in affluent dignity the last twenty-six 
years of life in widowhood, and died in 1 740. She 
lived to see Spain rise from its ashes, a new nation, 
purged by the fires of war ; "purified by heroism and 
sacrifice. The long duel between the Empire and 
France for the possession of the resources of Spain 
had ended before the death of Marie Anne in the 
successful reassertion of Spain to the possession of her 
own resources. Rulers, men and women, had blindly 
and ignorantly done their worst ; pride, bigotry, and 
sloth had dominated for centuries the spirit of the 
nation, as a result of the action which alone had 
caused Spain to bulk so big in the eyes of the world, 
and then to sink so low. But at last the evil night- 
mare of the house of Austria was shaken off, and when 
the aged widow of Charles n. passed to her rest at 
Guadalajara, Spaniards were awakening to the stirring 
message, that Spain might be happier and more truly 
great in national concentration than when the men-at- 
arms of the Austrian Philips squandered blood and 
treasure beyond count, to uphold in foreign lands an 
impossible pretension, born of ambitions as dead as 
those who first conceived them. 


2 L 


FIRE and sword swept Spain clean. The long dravm 
war of succession broke down much of the old ex- 
clusiveness and conceit which had been for two centuries 
the bane of the Spanish people, and a new patriotic 
spirit was aroused which proved that the nation was 
not effete but only drugged. The accession of Philip v. 
had been looked upon by his grandfather as practically 
annexing Spain to France. * // riy a plus de Pyrdntes,' 
he announced ; and his first act proved his determina- 
tion of treating his grandson's realm as a vassal state 
of his own. Again it was to a large extent the in- 
fluence of women which directed the course of Spanish 
politics, even to the confusion of the roi soleil. It has 
been shown in this history how often feminine influence 
had been invoked by statesmen to bring Spain to a 
sympathetic line of policy for their own ends, and 
how often circumstances had rendered their efforts 

The confident anticipations of Louis xiv. that, by 
rightly choosing his feminine instruments he might 
use Spain entirely for the aggrandisement of France, 
were even more conspicuously defeated than any 
previous attempts had been in a similar direction ; for 
the ladies upon whom he depended were one after the 
other caught up by the chivalrous patriotism of the 
Spanish people, newly aroused from the bad dream of 
a hundred years, and boldly braving Louis, they did 



their best for Spain and for their own ends, whether 
France benefited or not. 

The bride that Louis chose for his grandson was 
one from whom no resistance could be expected. She 
was a mere child, under fifteen, Maria Louisa Gabriela 
of Savoy, daughter of Victor Amadeus and Anne Marie 
of Orleans, sister of that Marie Louise, Queen of 
Spain, whose life has been told in detail in these pages. 
In September 1701 young Philip went to meet his 
bride at Barcelona ; and even thus early it was seen 
that he had to face a coalition of all Europe against 
him. Revolt had been stirred up in Naples ; and 
Philip had hardly time to snatch a brief honeymoon 
before he was obliged to hurry away to Italy to fight 
for his crown ; leaving the girl whom he had married 
to rule Spain in his absence and to marshal the ele- 
ments of defence in a country utterly prostrate and 
disorganised. Maria Louisa was, of course, entirely 
inexperienced, but she came of a stout race and never 
flinched from the responsibilities cast upon her. The 
young married couple were already deeply in love with 
each other ; and Philip, though only seventeen, had 
thus early begun to show the strange uxoriousness that 
in later life became an obsession which made him a 
mere appanage of the woman by his side ; so that 
Maria Louisa began her strenuous life assured that 
she would meet with no captious opposition from her 

Louis xiv. and Mme. de Maintenon had placed by 
her side a far stronger personality than Philip ; one of 
the greatest women of her century, whose mission it 
was to keep the young King and Queen of Spain in 
the narrow path of French interests. Anne Marie de 
la Tremouille, Duchess of Bracciano, whom the 


Spaniards called the Princess of Ursinos, took charge 
of the young Queen at once when the Piedmontese 
household was dismissed at the frontier ; and through 
the most troublous period of the great struggle which 
finally gave the throne to Philip, she ruled the rulers 
gently, wisely and firmly for their own interests and 
those of Spain. No cantankerous straitlaced Mistress 
of the Robes was she, such as the Duchess of Terra- 
nova who had embittered the life of the other Marie 
Louise, but a great lady full of wit and knowledge, and 
as brave as a lioness in defence of the best interests 
of those in her charge. 

The young Queen herself, when she had been in- 
stalled in the capital as Regent, showed how changed 
were the circumstances of a Queen of Spain, now that 
the dull gloom of the house of Austria had been swept 
away, and a new Spain was gazing towards the dawn. 
Nothing could exceed the diligence and ability of this 
girl of fifteen in administering the government of 
Madrid in the absence of the new King. Instead of 
the dull round of devotion and frivolity which had filled 
the lives of other Queen Consorts, she, with the wise 
old Princess at her side, worked incessantly. She 
would sign nothing she did not understand : she in- 
sisted upon all complaints being investigated, and 
reports made direct to her. Supplies of men and 
money for the war in which Philip was already plunged 
in Italy, were collected and remitted with an activity 
and regularity which filled old-fashioned Spaniards 
with surprise, and encouraged those who possessed 
means to contribute from their hoards resources pre- 
viously unsuspected. The manners of the Court were 
reformed ; immorality and vice, so long rampant in 
Madrid, was frowned at and discouraged ; and, instead 


of allowing the news of the wars in which the King 
was engaged to filter slowly and incorrectly from the 
palace to the gossips of the street, the Queen herself 
read aloud from a balcony to the people below the 
despatches she daily received from her husband. 

All this was enough to make the old Queen Consorts 
of Spain turn with horror in their porphyry urns at the 
Escorial ; but it came like a breeze of pure mountain 
air into the miasmatic apathy which had hitherto 
cloaked the capital ; and all Spain plucked up heart 
and spirit from the energy of this girl of fifteen, with 
the wise old Frenchwoman behind her. But even 
they could only administer things as they found them, 
and the root of the governmental system itself was 
vicious. Time, and above all knowledge, was required 
to re-organise the country ; and Spaniards grew restive 
at the foreign auspices under which the reforms were 
introduced. Maria Louisa and her husband well knew 
that without French support liberally given, they could 
never hold thejr own : for when the King returned to 
Madrid early in 1703, the Spaniards, who had belonged 
to the Austrian party in the last reign, had thrown 
off the mask and fled to join the enemy : and it was 
clear that no Spaniards would fight to make Spain a 
dependency of France. 

Nothing less than this would satisfy Louis xiv. ; and 
the Princess of Ursinos, who had tried to make the 
struggle a patriotic one for Spaniards, was warned 
from Paris that, unless she immediately retired from 
the country, King Louis would abandon Spain 
and his grandson to their fate. The Princess went 
into exile with a heavy heart, and the new French 
ambassador, Grammont, came when she had departed 
in 1704, instructed to make a clean sweep of all the 


national party in Madrid, and to obtain control for 
the French ministers. But Louis xiv. had underrated 
the power and ability of Maria Louisa, who resented 
the contemptuous dismissal of her wise mentor, and 
took no pains to conceal her opposition to the change. 
Louis sent scolding letters to her, rating her for her 
presumption in wishing, ' at the age of eighteen to 
govern a vast disorganised monarchy,' against the 
advice of those so much more experienced than her- 
self. But at last he had to recognise that this girl, 
with the best part of Spain behind her, held the 
stronger position ; and he took the wise course of 
conciliating her by re-enlisting and restoring to Spain 
the offended Princess of Ursinos. In vain his repre- 
sentatives in Madrid assured him that neither the 
Princess nor the Queen could be trusted to serve 
French interests blindly. The two women were too 
clever and too firm to be ignored, and the Princess 
returned to Madrid in triumph in August 1705, with 
carte blanche from Louis to do as she judged best to 
save Spain for the house of Bourbon, at all events. 

Thenceforward the Mistress of the Robes governed 
the Queen, the Queen governed the King, and the 
King was supposed to govern the country ; plunged 
in war at home and abroad, with the Spanish nobles 
either on the side of the Austrian or sullen at the 
foreign influence which pervaded the government 
measures, even when moderated and held in check 
by the Princess of Ursinos. At length, when the 
long war was wearing itself out, and peace was in 
the air, the stout-hearted little Savoyarde fell sick. 
She had borne many children to her husband, but 
only two sons, so far, had lived, Louis, born in 1707, 
and Ferdinand, born late in 1713. The birth of the 


latter heralded his mother's death. She had not 
spared herself in all the strenuous thirteen years of 
war and tumult, during which she had to a great 
extent governed Spain ; for Philip, when not absent 
in the field, was an obedient husband ; and now, at 
the dawn of a period of peace at the beginning of 
1714, Maria Louisa died at the age of twenty-six. 

Philip was still a young man ; but the dependence 
upon his wife, and his long fits of apathy that after- 
wards led to lunacy, had made him unfit to fulfil the 
duties of his position without a clever helpmeet by 
his side. The first result of the death of Maria 
Louisa was enormously to increase the influence of 
the old Princess of Ursinos. She was the only person 
allowed to see the King in his heartbroken grief; 
and whilst he was in seclusion in the Medina Celi 
palace, the monks were turned out of a neighbouring 
monastery that the Princess might stay there and 
have free access to the King through a passage made 
for the purpose through the walls that separated the 
buildings. The gossips very soon began to say that 
the King was going to marry the Princess, though 
she was old enough to be his grandmother. But, as 
usual, the scandalmongers were wrong. The Princess 
of Ursinos was far too clever for such a stroke as 
that ; but she and others saw that Philip must marry 
some one without loss of time, or he would lose what 
wits were left to him. 

The marriage-mongers of Europe were on the alert, 
but the problem to be solved was not an easy one. 
A bride must be found whom Louis xiv. would accept, 
and yet one not too subservient to orders from France, 
nor one who would interfere with the absolute para- 
mountcy of the Princess of Ursinos. So all the sug- 


gestions coming from France were regarded coldly ; 
and the Princess set about finding a candidate who 
would suit her. There was an Italian priest in Spain 
at the time, one Father Alberoni, a cunning rogue, 
who could be a buffoon when it suited him, who had 
wormed himself into Court circles in the suite of the 
Duke of Vendome. This man, a Parmese, came to 
the Princess of Ursinos the day after Queen Maria 
Louisa Gabriela died and suggested that there was a 
modest, submissive little princess at' Parma, the niece 
and stepdaughter of the reigning prince, who had no 
male heirs, and that this girl was exactly fitted to be 
the new consort to Philip v. The Princess of Ursinos 
was inclined to regard the idea favourably, for not 
only was it evident that so young and humble a 
princess would not attempt to interfere with her, but 
the match seemed to offer a chance for re-establishing 
the lost influence of Spain in Italy. Louis xiv. had 
other views for his grandson, and did not take kindly 
to the proposal, but he was grudgingly won over by 
the Princess of Ursinos, whom he could not afford to 
offend. Philip himself was as wax in the hands ot 
the old Princess; and on the i6th September 1714 
he married by proxy Isabel Farnese, Princess of 

Isabel Farnese had been represented by Alberoni 
as a tractable young maiden, but she was a niece, by 
her mother, of the Queen Dowager, Marie Anne of 
Neuburg, who was eating her heart out in spite in 
her exile at Bayonne ; and Alberoni knew full well 
when he suggested the Parmese bride that he was 
taking part in a deep-laid conspiracy to overthrow the 
Princess of Ursinos. His part was a difficult one to 
play at first, for he had to keep up an appearance of 


adhesion to the Princess of Ursinos whilst currying 
favour with the coming Queen. Isabel Farnese ap- 
proached her new realm with the airs of a conqueror. 
She was to have landed at Alicante, and thither went 
Alberoni and her Spanish household to receive her : 
but she altered her mind suddenly, arid decided to go 
overland through the south of France and visit her 
aunt Marie Anne at Bayonne. Marie Anne had a 
long score of her own to settle with the Princess of 
Ursinos, who had kept her in exile, and she instructed 
her niece how to proceed to make herself mistress of 
her husband's realm. 

Isabel Farnese, girl though she was, did not need 
much instruction in imperious self-assertion, and began 
her operations as soon as she crossed the frontier. 
She flatly refused to dismiss her Italian suite, as had 
been arranged in accordance with the invariable 
Spanish rule, and showed from the first that she 
meant to have her own way in all things. She was 
in no hurry, moreover, to meet her husband until the 
Princess of Ursinos was out of the way ; and when 
the latter, in great state, came to meet her at Jadraque, 
a short distance from Guadalajara, where the King 
was awaiting his bride, Isabel was ready for the 
decisive fray which should settle the question as to 
who should rule Spain. 

The old Princess was quite aware also by this time 
that she had to meet a rival, and she began when she 
entered the presence by making some remark about 
the slowness of the Queen's journey. Hardly were 
the words out of her mouth than the young termagant 
shouted : * Take this old fool away who dares to come 
and insult me : ' and then, in spite of protest and 
appeal, the Princess was hustled into a coach to be 


driven into exile through a snowstorm in the winter 
night over the bleakest uplands in Europe, Attired 
in her Court dress, with no change of garments or 
adequate protection against the weather, without 
respect, consideration or decency, the aged Princess 
was thus expelled from the country she had served 
so wisely. She saw now, as she had feared for some 
time before, that she had been tricked by the crafty 
Italian clown-cleric, and that her day was done. 

The dominion of the new Queen Isabel Farnese 
over the spirit of Philip v. was soon more complete 
even than that of the Princess had been, and a letter 
of cold compliment from the King was all the reward 
or consolation that the Princess got for her protracted 
service to him and his cause in Spain ; services with- 
out which, in all human probability, he would never 
have retained the crown. So long as Philip had a 
masterful woman always by his side to keep him in 
leading strings, it mattered little to him who the 
woman was ; and Isabel Farnese, bold, ambitious, and 
intriguing, ruled Spain in the name of her husband 
thenceforward for thirty years. Her system was 
neither French nor Spanish, but founded upon the 
feline ecclesiastical methods of the smaller Italian 
Courts : and the object of Isabel's life was to assert 
successfully the rights of her sons to the Italian prin- 
cipalities she claimed in virtue of her descent. The 
pretext under which she cloaked her aims was the re- 
covery of the Spanish influence in the sister Peninsula : 
but the wars which resulted were in no sense of Spanish